For years now, the Ejipura flyover — which is supposed to connect Ejipura to Adugodi — has been famously delayed, tied up in bureaucracy and a lack of funds. The idea of the flyover was to provide relief to commuters who routinely get stuck in the 500-metre stretch that forms a single-file bottleneck at the Ejipura signal and the traffic jams last for 20 minutes to 45 minutes.
Two years after it was first cleared for construction, the work on Ejipura flyover finally commenced last month. BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar put out a tweet that the work on the flyover, which was supposed to have been completed in January 2019, has resumed.
“The construction is on-going and we cannot do much about the traffic. However, we are trying to speed up the construction as far as possible,” says Anil Kumar, Commissioner of BBMP.
However, activists have stated not just the delays, the construction of the flyover itself is a terrible idea.
“The flyover is a complete waste of money. First of all, flyovers are a bad idea because they are built to prioritise and move private vehicles. This is inadequate to move public between these areas,” says Sandeep Anirudhan, part of the Citizens’ Agenda for Bengaluru.
He goes on to say that there are buses that ply on this route, but they are just not enough.
“The Bengaluru local buses are the most expensive in the country. The bus routes have also been designed unscientifically and there is no proper connectivity between places that people want to go to. Instead, people are forced to plan their trips based on the arbitrary bus route. Instead, people prefer to take their private vehicles. In any case, it costs less,” he adds.
The Citizen’s Agenda for Bangalore has put out a petition for people to stand up against another elevated corridor that is unnecessary, and he says will just add to the congestion in the city, like it takes place in Electronic City. The petition seeks to replace the flyover concept with a metro connection instead.
Experts have supported this idea. Ashish Verma, a professor of sustainable transportation at IISc, says that flyovers are a short-lived solution. “When there is a flyover to decongest a junction, there will always be people who will change their routes to use this flyover. This is known as ‘induced demand’ when people who aren’t using something, begin using it due to the availability. So people adopt cars and bikes to use this system, and the problem doesn’t get solved. Private transportation also exacerbates the effect on climate as there is increased emissions and fuel consumption,” Verma adds.
With the vehicle population that keeps increasing year on year in cities, and people opting to buy cars as their incomes go up, the traffic congestion problem doesn’t get resolved one way or the other. The only solution is to have high-density transportation solutions: public transportation like buses, metro, and local trains.
Which is where activists’ demand for the metro connectivity comes in. People who work in the IT sector and travel to work need better options than just taking their cars to work and getting stuck in commutes that last hours. There is currently no proposed metro connectivity between Koramangala to KR Puram, or even to important IT hubs Electronic City and Whitefield.
“It’s a hassle for me to get out of Koramangala every day through Indiranagar-Ejipura,” says Kevin Mathews, a commuter who works in Frazer Town. “The route I used previously was through Hosur road, but the white topping there has been held up for months and it's impossible to use that route. Even alternate routes through local areas are packed with vehicles, and now the traffic police have blocked the inside routes. I can’t rely on buses to get me to work on time and so I’m forced to commute in this manner. A metro connection for even half the journey would be an extremely welcome change," he added.