Coimbatore City Police suffered a major setback as their initiative to make roads free of traffic signals has failed to yield the desired result. Traffic congestion is a common sight at many locations where signals are replaced with U-turns, especially during peak hours, and motorists are urging police to revert to the old system.
Sources in the police department, however, said the arrangement would not be revisited. A study has been conducted on the reasons and steps that would be taken to clear the bottleneck, they added. A total of 55 traffic signals were operational in the city. However, in a bid to curb the traffic congestion, police replaced all but eleven with U-turns and roundabouts.
Many places along Avinashi Road, Sathyamangalam Road, and Trichy Road have this initiative in operation and it allows motorists to travel without having to wait at busy intersections. Also, it saves travel time and fuel. However, the alarming increase in traffic congestion has raised concerns among the public.
N Ramakrishnan, a social activist who uses the road frequently said, “Traffic snarls on Avinashi Road have increased during peak hours after the introduction of U-turns and closure of signals. Crossing the road has become a challenging task for pedestrians at each U-turn and police have to stop traffic to let them cross. Avinashi Road is an arterial road where the issue crops up frequently. If police can operate signals at least during peak hours, it will help the public.”
Su Gowri Shankar, a research student who posted about the issue on social media, said when the signals are removed when flyover construction is underway, it may cause more accidents. “Adequate space should be given for vehicles to reach the U-Turn point. But in many places, the U-turn points are located at a narrow distance from the cut roads. At Lakshmi Mill junction, the U-turns were opened at a close distance and the vehicles on arterial stretches moved with a blind eye. Amid this, reaching the U-turn points becomes a huge task for bikes, especially for women riders. Police should modify the places before accidents happen,” he said.
While light vehicle drivers flag fear of accidents, drivers of heavy vehicles complain of slow-moving traffic. Bus traffic is heavy at Gandhipuram junction where Omni and Mofussil buses ply, Uppilipalayam junction where Avinashi Road starts, LIC junction and Lakshmi Mill junction. “U-turn in these junctions cause disruption whenever a bus arrives. Congestion increases when they take U-turns. We are often stuck in the middle of the U-turn due to the tight turning radius,” said K Muruganandham, a Kerala government bus driver.
Other places where traffic congestion happens frequently are Vincent Road junction on Sungam Bypass, Ganapathy junction on Sathy Road, and U-Turn in front of the Thandumariyamman Kovil at Uppilipalayam and need immediate attention. Commissioner of Police V Balakrishnan told that he has made a note of the locations facing troubles, adding they are taking steps to prevent accidents based on public opinion. “I will direct officers to address the issues promptly,” he assured.
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