Intersection of two roads perpendicular to each other make a four way stop, or an all way stop in traffic terms, commonly called crossing or chowk by public.
There are three way, five way or six way crossings also. There may be controlled, uncontrolled, roundabouts or traffic circles where vehicles manage or await direction for first move.
Intersections are what joints are to a human body. Utilisation of these is an inevitable concomitant necessity in every country irrespective of development status.
They connect its different areas with one another to make them meaningful, worthy of safe and secure movement to exercise a purposeful activity round the clock. There are inter-state, highway and in-city crossings to facilitate the pedestal as well as vehicular inter-connectivity which are the main purpose of roads.
With a steady growth in human and the vehicular population policing, inter alia, became the sine-qua-non to monitor and regulate their activities to ensure safety of life and property.
While as regular police is meant and responsible for maintaining law & order in their respective jurisdiction, traffic police is exclusively meant and responsible for maintaining smooth flow of traffic in the area they have jurisdiction.
However, in case of emergency arising out of any man-made tragedy or natural calamity both can be pressed into service for disaster management and rescue measures and rehabilitation. They perform duty with devotion to professional effectiveness to provide comfort to the commuters.
Under the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the Rules 1989 with subsequent amendments thereto traffic authorities are empowered to take or initiate penal action against those who are indifferent or insensitive to adhere to provisions of the Act/Rules.
Traffic signal is used employing the universal colour code of red, green and yellow that indicates the road user to act according to the sign displayed. Red indicates stop, green keep going or start driving and yellow ready to move.
Besides, various other road and traffic signs on and along the roadsides are used to ensure safe and economic movement of the people and the vehicles. In the domain of their duty traffic authorities are on continuous march to ascend new heights on the level of professional excellence with additions to traffic management techniques for traffic decongestion, avoiding possibility of jams, accidents, rash, rough and wrong drive.
However, there remains always room for improvement in human activities everywhere. Many interventions have welcome results and should not be ignored or underestimated barring some exceptions. For example New City Hospital Chowk Tengpora bypass.
It is a five way crossing where north-south bypass roads, east-west roads connecting Firdousabad Batalamoo with Tengpora & onwards and a south side road along bypass leading to Rambagh via the bund of Flood Spill Channel Tengpora converge.
The crossing was managed by the traffic cops and the rush did disperse in five directions within seconds. But after some time the crossing was closed for east-west and the south side passages and directed to follow Batamaloo junction, about one kilometer away from the Hospital Chowk, which is a four way crossing connecting east-west, Old Bus Stand Batamaloo residency with Tengpora and the north-south bypass roads.
Previously both the intersections were open for traffic and the commuters used to reach their destination economically.
Upon a change, the traffic was diverted to follow Tengpora four way small chowk to have a u-turn to right for Firdousabad and the Rambagh-bundh roads to cater to east and the south population.
This change has resulted in burdening about two kilometers of highway bypass to & fro from five way crossing to four way crossing to reach Firdousabad and Rambagh besides intercepting the north-south traffic to negotiate the u-turn on the bypass.
After sometime the second chowk was also closed and traffic redirected to have a u-turn to right at Nund Rishi colony in Bemina. Resultantly about four kilometers to & fro from Bemina instead of about two kilometers previously, got engaged in a similar way and results causing further rush, noise pollution, emission pollution, extra travel time, expenditure and depreciation of vehicles concerned.
In a nutshell the pressure normally at peak time that used to deflate at five-way crossing at New City Hospital Chowk Tengpora got extended in road mileage and prolonged in terms of time involved. Now commuters from Tengpora for Firdousabad have to first go to Bemina and move back to reach Firdousabad.
It is to point out here that about six dozen traffic lights in pairs of two and four stand installed in the New City Hospital Chowk which has been closed now making an extra expenditure of public finance on this count. Likewise Bemina crossing was also closed. Moving downward to Parimpora three-way crossing a similar modus-operandi was adopted.
Earlier the Srinagar up and down traffic would ply east-west paving the commuters access to bypass to move south-ward while as commuters for north used the M/s. Fair Deal Motors side to go hassle free.
Thus Srinagar up traffic moving from Shalateng Crossing and that moving from Bypass to north down had no problem at all. Only the u-turn to bypass and that moving Srinagar down did require attention which was paid by the traffic authorities on duty.
Subsequently Srinagar down traffic was diverted from Parimpora crossing to M/s Ansari Motors Chowk to have u-turn to right to ride on bypass for north-west. This arrangement makes the traffic to first mingle with the bypass south, mandi, in addition to adda traffic and then obstruct the southern traffic.
Then it has to confront the traffic moving from the bypass northward to adjust its way to commute to north and west directions. South traffic using bypass and intending to visit or required to terminate at New Bus Stand was allowed to have u-turn at Ansari Motors Chowk to reach the destination via Fruit Mandi.
The sum total of this exercise led to more cuts, turns, obstructions, interceptions, consummation of time, road mileage, noise and air pollution, delayed movements etc.
More traffic at crossings is but natural. Closure of chowks is bound to choke the movement and lead to more and long traffic jams like a river flooding the periphery when the course of its flow is closed or narrowed.
With no results more fruitful than before and with no let up for traffic authorities to rest assured of smooth flow of traffic and free from possibility of accidents in the analogous situations described briefly above, status quo of previous arrangements with addition of having more divider cuts at suitable places across the bypass before and after crossing the intersections could have been a better recourse.
Construction of flyovers over the intersections coupled with warning, regulatory and guide signs would be a solution. The traffic and road authorities are expected to think over this, and work better for the purpose for which public awaits eagerly.
The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.