As traffic at key road junctions gets worse, figures obtained from the traffic police show that the vehicles under Pune city jurisdiction rose by about 30 per cent in Pune and PCMC areas from 30 lakh to around 39 lakh in three years. But the city has seen almost no addition to infrastructure development to accommodate this increase, or any considerable increase in public transport facilities.\
Two years ago, Newsline reported that Pune city traffic police identified important road junctions that faced severe traffic snarls and jams. Some were University Square, Engineering College Square, Nal Stop, Balbharati Square, Shastri Square, Shimla Office Square, and Hinjewadi bridge junction on the highway and Swargate Junction and some junctions in PCMC area.
Deputy commissioner of police (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said, “In three years, vehicle population under Pune city police jurisdiction swelled from 30 lakh to around 39 lakh, a huge 30 per cent rise. Around 75 per cent of these are two-wheelers. And these are just number of registered vehicles under two RTOs. The number of vehicles from outside and those which are in Pune but not registered here are not included in these figures.”
The traffic police suggested local civic bodies some infrastructure changes at these junctions, only a few of which have been implemented. Pandhare added, “It is high time policymakers and those who execute policies realise that road expansions, flyovers etc are short-term solutions. These changes will prove insufficient in future in absence of adequate public transport system and suitable facilities for non-motorised transport like cycles, and for pedestrians.”
In the rainy season, the problem worsens as average speed of vehicles deceases and more people prefer cars and other four-wheelers. Traffic police say traffic has become unmanageable.
Other bottlenecks are bridges on Mula and Mutha river. “Most bridges are old and do not have carrying capacity needed for heavy traffic. So there are jams on these bridges and on connected roads.”
Pandhare added, “At the university junction, traffic flows from Aundh, Baner and Pashan and merges with that from Senapati Bapat road from the other side. If one spends some time at the junction, one will realise that road expansion is not the solution. We try to manage traffic by deploying more staff, use of better technology. We have even cancelled weekly offs of staffers.”
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