Space challenged cities like Pune, need to resort to road widening to accomodate rising traffic. The Law College Road, an arterial road that witnesses heavy traffic in morning and evening hours is currently being widened.
Ace urban planner, Mandar Puranik has the following to say about road widening projects…
“In transport planing terms, it is really ineffective as it marginally affects road capacity. Traffic flow is more a product of
1. Number of cross streets or junctions and minimising it ( not flyovers) always helps. 2. Signal co-ordination 3. Discipline, lanes, specially followed by heavy vehicles or cars.
A widened road, left on its own even with double road widths will result in further traffic chaos, speeding of vehicles between traffic signals, pedestrian crossing difficult, haphazard parking. What PMC should immediately undertake is provide generous ( min 2 m) footpaths, street lighting, controlled parking bays within widened road sections. It will make life of pedestrian better and help to channelise vehicular traffic than freeflow movement. A good example of C.G. Road in Ahmedabad. Such 2 m + pedestrian space also supports informal uses just outside within private properties such as chai wallah, xerox etc.
Hope, road widening doesn’t stop at the stage as shown in picture. Pune needs at least one good street to begin with and perhaps Law College road can set the scene. There are well grown trees, Cafe coffee day,Barista, banks and other restaurants in place already. If walking is made safer and enjoyable, people / students, including regular tekadi goers will thank PMC. “