Sunday, Apr 10, 2005
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By John L. Paul
The traffic signal system at Judges Avenue Junction, which was knocked down by a car, has been dumped in the compound of a police station in the city. Photo: Mahesh Harilal
KOCHI, APRIL 9. The lack of co-ordination among Government agencies concerned has resulted in a free-for-all situation at many traffic intersections in the city, where electronic traffic signals have been installed.
The inadequate co-ordination among different Government departments was conspicuous at Judges Avenue Junction, Kaloor, where a traffic-signal post knocked down by a car remained in the middle of the road for a fortnight, posing danger to motorists. It was after public outcry that it was taken away and dumped in the compound of a traffic police station, over a fortnight back. The signal system had been put up by the Motor Vehicles' Department. The Department's contention was that it was not in charge of maintaining the system.
Multiplicity of agencies
The city has about two dozen electronic traffic signals and a few more have been proposed. But there is no definite rule as to which agency should maintain them.
A senior official in the Motor Vehicles' Department has said the District Administration and the Traffic Police are responsible for the upkeep of the signals. "We have not been allotted funds for this purpose. Two years back, we installed signal systems on MG Road and Bannerjee Road using the Road Safety Fund. The other signal systems were put up by sponsors. It is high time the PWD is entrusted with the job of establishing and maintaining them, since they are in charge of maintaining most arterial roads in the city," he said.
The District Collector, A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, who is also the chairman of the Road Safety Council, says that the help of sponsors has been sought to put up new signal systems at Judges Avenue and Madhav Pharmacy Junction. "The disconnect between Government agencies and the sponsors should end," he said.
In many signal systems, the lights do not burn mainly because of fusing of bulbs. Signal posts are seldom replaced, after vehicles knock down them. Examples are the Judges Avenue Junction and Madhav Pharmacy Junction. In some instances, the road alignment will not be on a straight line at two sides of the junction (as in Palarivattom bypass junction), affecting the free flow of traffic.
Danger lurks at Palarivattom bypass junction because of the absence of signal posts in the two main medians located on the Vytilla and Edapally side of the bypass. Both the posts were knocked down following accidents. They are yet to be replaced.
Motorists from either side have to look at the signal post on their left side (Palarivattom side and Kakkanad side) and keep focused so that they do not end up jumping the signal. Often, a clear view of the signal system on the side is marred by heavy vehicles passing in the front. As a result, accidents are common in the junction. Similarly, motorists in the front few rows waiting for the green signal will not know that the signal has turned green, unless vehicles honk from behind.
Many of the bulbs are dysfunctional in the signal system at the Edapally bypass junction. Similar is the case with the system in Pallimukku and in many other parts of the city. Motorists are left to guess when to stop and when to proceed.
A few students of the School of Engineering have submitted a proposal to synchronise traffic lights on MG Road. The aim is to reduce the waiting time at each intersection.
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