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     Taking a complete U-turn
 

Traffic in Pune

Did you know that in the year 2004-05, around 1,60,000 new vehicles were registered with the RTO, Pune?
The signs of a crumbling infrastructure are already visible. Traffic congestion and pollution have made travelling on the roads an unpleasant though unavoidable experience.
You take your two-wheeler or four-wheeler on the roads, first you have to face the blaring traffic and pothole-ridden roads and then the headache of finding a parking space.
According to a calculation done by the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation), nearly 200 acres of additional parking space will be required every year to meet the needs of growing number of vehicles.

These figures make you think- aren’t vehicles taking more space than human beings?

In a tête-à-tête with Mr. Sujeet Patwardhan, we received some valuable insights in this ever- burgeoning menace of traffic in Pune and the role of local administration in worsening it.

Mr. Sujeet Patwardhan is actively involved in PTTF (Pune Transport and Traffic Forum). It is a cross platform NGO to facilitate an effective transport policy. He also heads Parisar- an  NGO working in the areas of environmental action and awareness
.
Sujit Patwardhan

Traffic congestion in the city is the result of lack of traffic policy

The biggest danger to the environment is posed by the traffic policy of the administration. It is a known fact that auto effluents are extremely dangerous to one’s health. Yet, there is no policy in place to tackle this. The local administration is concentrating on increasing the infrastructure which for them means more space for automobiles and not public transport or periphery walkways or cycle tracks. They are focussing on widening the roads, building flyovers and bridges. It is but a temporary solution which will only worsen the situation.

Vested interests

  1. Road building has a lot of stakeholders and interest-groups like the contractors and builder’s lobby. The only people to suffer are the citizens
  2. The whole disease is deep in the marrows of the administration. Our suggestions are met with delays and excuses
  3. Interested parties do the homework for the administration and give good reasons for opposing our suggestions
  4. Laws and policies are outdated. Government falls pray to the arguments and recommendations of the interested parties
  5. Lack of vision and unplanned approach of the PMC

Role of PTTF (Pune Transport and Traffic Forum)

Our focus areas are studying the urban transportation models in other countries and making recommendations to the administration for improvement of public transport in Pune. An average man will agree with the policy makers that we should widen the roads. This is where we come in to provide information and spread awareness about the issue.

The direction for tackling the traffic problem has to take a U-turn. The administration needs to ask why so many vehicles are being used in the city and how can you reduce the number of vehicles without reducing the mobility?

Recommendations:
Right now there are around 600 PMT buses plying on the roads and the total demand is for 1200 buses.
So we need to have an effective transportation plan. Get good buses, make separate lanes for buses and make it easy for people to buy bus tickets, bulid peripheral walkways; in short improve the public transport.
Ideally, a city should have such public transport that people don’t need to drive their own cars but use public transport instead. This will reduce the pressure on roads.

Positive signs:
We have been constantly interacting with the policy-makers to convince them that there is an urgent need for an effective traffic policy.
We have been successful in getting the BRT (Bus Transit Route) plan approved by the PMC. We will be organising a campaign of PMT (Pune Municipal Tansport) users to push for a policy on public transport in Pune.

(Click on the following link for more information on PTTF: http://www.pttf.net/go/ )

If you are appalled with the pathetic condition of Pune roads and wish to do something about it, join the Virtual Citizens’ Forum.

 

 


 
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