While work on median islands and other amenities began on December 13, it has stopped for the last three days after a no-show by workers and BBMP officials.

Work on pedestrian friendly amenities at Bengalurus infamous Iblur Junction paused
news Civic Issues Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 17:13

With the rising number of deaths due to accidents, sustained citizen activism has resulted in authorities working on making some parts of the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in Bengaluru more pedestrian friendly. The ORR, part of the National Highway which is a 10-lane signal free corridor around the Bengaluru city centre, meets Sarjapur Road, a state highway, at the four-road Iblur Junction.

Crossing the road safely has been a daunting task for people of all ages given the free flow of vehicles from all directions. Now authorities have decided to fix this infamous junction to make life easier for pedestrians. But not before a 75-year-old man died after being hit by a public bus on December 10 and a 26-year-old was hospitalised and is fighting for his life in a coma after being hit by a car in the same place a few days later.

These two recent tragic incidents have impelled the Bangalore Traffic Police and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Traffic Engineering Cell to fulfil the long pending demands made by citizens.

In a meeting following the two accidents, the Traffic Police and the BBMP had agreed to sanction work for median islands, 15-20 second pedestrian operated signals, raised pedestrian crossings on service roads and reflective signage, zebra crossings and other road signs.

Kishori Mudaliar, founder of civic activist group Bellandur Jothege (BJ), said, “It has taken us a year, a few fatalities and scores of daily pedestrian accidents to get BBMP’s Traffic Engineering Cell to right the wrong of absent pedestrian crossings at the ill-designed Iblur Junction.”

“Once these temporary measures are in place, we will have safe, scientifically designed crossings here with reasonably timed pedestrian signals that allow sufficient time for the old and young alike to cross this 10-lane highway,” she added.

While work had begun on December 13, there has been no improvement for those crossing the road yet. Moreover, the work has stopped for the past three days. 

Kashinath Prabhu, who is part of BJ, said, “So far only minor civil work for the pedestrian island has been finished. But all the other work has not started. Moreover, for the last three days there was a no-show by workers and BBMP officials. Our patience is running out.”

The proposal for a long-awaited skywalk that can solve the road crossing problem has been approved but work is yet to begin on that front.

While the BBMP is criticised for being overenthusiastic in building skywalks in the city centre often where it is not required, the civic body seems reluctant to build skywalks in the pedestrian death trap of the ORR. The only skywalk located 4 km away that opened months ago was built with private funds and sustained pressure from citizen groups in a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.

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