Friday, March 31, 2006

Peddar Road Flyover - some thoughts

Anchit raised some interesting points in his comment on my earlier blog. I thought I'd put in a blog just to voice my thoughts on what he said. Extracts of his comment in red, and mine in the usual font.

"But I just don't see why the governement should spend so much money on a project that's going act as a stop gap arrangment for hardly a few years. If money is going to be spent on this project, the government will soon be short of funds again, and then the worli-nariman point sea link plan will be stalled."

1. If you see from the data at the bottom of my earlier blog, the Peddar Road Flyover (PRF) is estimated to cost Rs125crores. As compared to that, the Worli-Nariman Point Sealink (WNPSL) will cost Rs3,500crores - or about 30 times more. I doubt that the WNPSL will be stalled if the PRF is built. Think about it. I don't think the Bandra Worli Sea Link project (to cost Rs1,300 crores) was stalled for so long because the JJ Flyover (costing Rs100crores) was built, right ?

2. Yes, you're point on "stop gap arrangement" is valid. This is the price that the city has to pay because of the complete failure on previous administrations to build the entire Bandra-Worli-Nariman Point Sealink. If the Sealink was operational, I doubt there would be a need for the PRF. But we can't change the past so lets come back to the present. Assuming no delays, the WNPSL is due for completion in 2010, and the PRF by 2009. Yes, that's only a year apart. But the traffic on Peddar Road is bound to increase four years down the line. Moreover, traffic on Peddar Road won't stop once WNPSL is built, right ? So even for them, the PRF (in 2009) should be of some use.

"Peddar Road has six lanes. The part of Hughes Road the flyover is going to go over has eight, and Babulnath road has four. The flyover is going to have only three lanes. The maximum the flyover will do is cut down on signals. The entire length of the flyover has six signals, three of them are hardly ever red. (I think it's 130 seconds of green and 20 seconds of red). However, the signals that are cut down may just as well be negated by the lack of enough lanes on the flyover."

Again you've raised valid points. Now, I'm no traffic or urban planning expert, but here's the logic I'm assuming. Rush hour traffic occupies only half of all the lanes that you mentioned (the fact that rush-hour in Bombay nowadays seems to be in all directions is another issue, but lets keep that for some other time).

Now, are three lanes enough ? I don't know, but I'd assume that the lack of space means that they can only make three lanes for the PRF and not more. In my view, whether signals are green or red hardly matter when traffic is gridlocked - a normal rush-hour phenomena on Peddar Road. I travel on that stretch everyday and I know for a fact that

  • rush-hour traffic at the RTI signal (the junction of Hughes Road and Babulnath) is at a standstill for at least 10-15 minutes irrespective of the signal being green or red.
  • Evening northbound traffic on the upward slope of the Vama Flyover is so bad that cars automatically take up one, even two, of the opposite lanes (simply because there is no divider on that up-stretch, as there is on the down-stretch near Vama).
  • Vama to Cadbury - I don't want to even talk about the torture that stretch can be. It's enough to admit people into Jaslok, which happens to be nearby.

So I'm figuring that if you have a dedicated three-lane, uni-directional flyover without any signals, that should help move the above traffic faster - which is the point of flyovers, isn't it?

Anchit - thanks for visiting my blog, and I'd appreciate your thoughts on my views.