Some Common Sense Requests

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One of my pet peeves against Pune’s administration is the continued treatment of the city as a small town. We still seem to be run as if we’re a town of pensioners and some small family businesses. Fact is, that Pune is now a top 10 city in the country. And it has been for over 15 years now. If the administration started behaving like it were, a lot of the niggling issues could bring relief to Punekars. We identify some things that irritate us most. Sure, there’s more where these came from!

Exhibit 1: Traffic signals.

At best, traffic signals work sporadically. I have no idea how they are operated and who is in charge. Most are hidden behind a tree or (worse), another traffic light in front. So as a driver, you’re always searching for the light. A conspiracy theory could be that it serves the purpose of traffic cops for when you inadvertently jump a light, they’re ready to jump you!

A bigger pet peeve is that traffic lights at some major junctions are switched off between 1 and 4 and post 10 PM. There isn’t a road in Pune anymore where traffic abates at these times. Take the example of the signal outside SNDT College on Law College Road. It’s routinely shut off in the afternoon. The result is chaos at the junction. Recently, this author noticed that the signal outside as busy a junction as Jehangir Hospital was off around 10.30PM. This is a seriously heavy traffic junction. Crossing it to go towards RTO took about 20 minutes. Not to mention the sheer fear of crossing this junction!

A conspiracy theory could be that it serves the purpose of traffic cops for when you inadvertently jump a light, they’re ready to jump you!

Who decides how long a traffic signal stays red or green? Is there some logic or science to it? Yes, there is a science to it. Clearly, no, we don’t use it. Take the example of the signal outside the JW Marriott on SB Road. Driving from University to Symbiosis, the signal is red for about 30-40 seconds. Then it turns green only to go straight for about 40 seconds. All the while, the right is still Red. So there’s a traffic pile-up. And the volume of cars that are now either turning right or taking a U-turn is equal to those going straight. The U-turn is active for about 15 seconds. The result is a jam on the road. For ever!

Simple solution: Start the right/U-turn and straight simultaneously and close it simultaneously. Let both be available for 40 seconds. This will reduce the struggle to get to the front of the line and allow more than 1 lane for those wanting to go straight!

Exhibit 2: Garbage Dumps

There are few of these in the first place. And what little do exist, don’t get cleaned up regularly. For a road with about 50 buildings and over 10,000 residents (pretty normal for most major localities these days), one is not nearly enough. Within a day or two, these are overflowing and then, being the true Indians that we all are, we start throwing garbage around it. And that creates another ‘kachra corner’ where there shouldn’t be one.

Why can’t we at least drop our garbage in the vicinity of a dump? Simple solution: Get bigger dumps or more depending on the population of a locality.

What’s more alarming that people don’t seem to mind the missing dumps. They are happy to chuck garbage on any empty plot of land. So long as it isn’t theirs. Rivers (whatever is left of them) is another popular dumping place. Why can’t we at least drop our garbage in the vicinity of a dump? Simple solution: Get bigger dumps or more depending on the population of a locality.

Exhibit 3: Lack of Traffic Sense

Yes, we’re moving from administrative gaffes to individuals ones. But this one really is beyond me. Most roads in Pune are choked with traffic as it is. A U-turn opening isn’t too far. Most people ride two-wheelers that give them insane mileage. So it can’t be that they’re trying to save fuel by going the wrong way. Those with cars may want to save fuel. But then, don’t drive it, if you can’t afford it! And if you still want to, have basic civic sense and stick to the side of the road you should be on. It’ll probably take you two turns extra and maybe a couple of minutes more. But you are a potential accident and traffic jam.

Talking on mobile phones while driving/riding is not permitted by law. We may as well repeal it. It’s a waste of space in whatever legal book it finds space in. No one adheres to it. Everyone has an urgent call at full speed. They have to answer the call of death, it would seem. Whatever. Their life to throw away, no?

Talking on mobile phones while driving/riding is not permitted by law. We may as well repeal it. It’s a waste of space in whatever legal book it finds space in.

Exhibit 4: Dig it!

That there is little coordination between various local departments is known. But for the sake of the public at large, can’t they agree on planning an area so it doesn’t have to be dug up every few months? First off, roads are renovated only before elections. But they are dug up all the time between two elections. So for the better part of a government’s rule, we are using dug up roads. No one’s paying us for the damage it causes our vehicles or the time lost, but it could at least save us some headache if they planned so the roads could be dug only when essential.

Also notice that most traffic junctions will have a dug up road or a pothole. This is one of the biggest hindrances to traffic flow.

Yes, the above are obvious problems. We all have faced these. The solutions are very simple. But the motivation for solving seems to be missing or driven by wrong intentions.

Do you have any peeves you want to share? Drop us a comment.

Image courtesy Inspire Monkey

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