CPPR Chairman Dr D Dhanuraj comments, “Urban planners and civic bodies must step in to lessen the ensuing congestion by augmenting modes of public transport like state-of-the-art buses, so that commuters have alternatives to private vehicles” in a news article published in The Hindu

Influx of more private vehicles a matter of concern, says councillor

Faced with additional influx of vehicles into the NH Bypass since Saturday, which created unprecedented snarls at Vyttila, demand is rife that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which owns the Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass, or the PWD, which built the Vyttila flyover, urgently take up the second phase development of the congested junction.

Saturday’s chaos is a symptom of what is in store, since more private vehicles are expected to converge at the junction.

Narrow slip road

The NHAI or the PWD must initiate steps to widen the narrow slip road on the eastern side (Thripunithura side) of the flyover, if need be, by acquiring land, to carve out space for vehicles from Palarivattom wanting to turn left towards the Vyttila Mobility Hub or Thripunithura and those waiting for signal to turn right towards SA Road, said Sunitha Dixon, councillor representing the Kochi Corporation’s Vyttila Division.

“Similarly, the NHAI must set the process in motion to build a four-lane underpass linking SA Road with the Vyttila-Thripunithura Road, in case the PWD (NH Wing), which built the flyover, is hesitant.

“The NHAI is also duty-bound to extend the long-overdue proposal to service roads on the junction’s Palarivattom side by a few metres further north — where a wide enough underpass is possible, so that motorists can avoid the existing shoddily narrow underpass. On its part, the PWD (Roads Wing) must widen the bottlenecked two-lane stretch between Vyttila Junction and Kunnara Park, since it is considerably slowing down movement of vehicles at the junction,” she added.

Long-term solutions

Saturday’s chaos proves that government agencies must seek the help of traffic experts from NATPAC or people like Metroman E. Sreedharan to come up with long-term solutions to ensure safe and smooth movement of motorists and pedestrians in and around Vyttila.

Traffic reforms like the one being tried out at the Palarivattom Bypass Junction, to do away with traffic signals, could be tried out in Vyttila, Ms. Dixon said.

Private vehicles

The phenomenal increase in the number of cars and two-wheelers whenever a flyover or bridge is commissioned is a common phenomenon. Especially so in Kerala, where people are obsessed with cars and SUVs. Urban planners and civic bodies must step in to lessen the ensuing congestion by augmenting modes of public transport like state-of-the-art buses, so that commuters have alternatives to private vehicles, said D. Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), a city-based think tank.

Need for flyovers

Ultimately, much thought must be given to whether cities like Kochi need elevated structures like flyovers, since augmenting a lane or two at junctions and emulating reforms being tried out at Palarivattom to bring about a signal-less junction can do wonders, at a fraction of the expense needed to build flyovers and bridges, he added.

This news report was published in The Hindu on January 10, 2021. Click here to read

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