Snarls are a common occurrence on Bijon Setu during office hours, as buses, cars, taxis, autos and trams vie for space on the narrow Bypass connector. The traffic volume may treble by 2009, with a 750,000-sq-ft multi-utility tower and a 4,000-seater stadium coming up on the Rajdanga grounds, near Ruby General Hospital.
Volume of traffic
The road space has remained the same but the traffic load — towards Gariahat in the morning and in the opposite direction in the evening — has increased manifold. “This stretch is getting slower by the month. On a bad day, you may even have to spend 30 minutes on the road,” said Subhadip Sen, a Bijon Setu regular.
Copspeak: “It’s difficult to widen the road, as it is flanked by buildings,” said a sergeant manning the Kasba end of the bridge.
There is a footbridge at the Ballygunge end to avoid bottlenecks, but hardly anyone uses it. Rajkumar Mukherjee, who mans the elevator installed for children, the aged and the handicapped, said: “Even the elderly people prefer crossing the road to using the footbridge.” The escalator, too, remains unused.
Copspeak: “We need more personnel to enforce anti-jaywalking laws,” says a senior officer.
Auto and trams
Cars and autos are allowed to take U-turns at the Gariahat end of the bridge and cycle-rickshaws are allowed to cross the connector at the Kasba end. Trams, too, add to the chaos.
Copspeak: “Autos are not allowed to take U-turns during rush hours but I don’t know about rickshaws,” said an officer in front of Kasba post office.
Patha Bhavan, Dolna and South Point are the three schools located near Bijon Setu. Shankar Pal, a local resident, said students have to walk on the road as the pavements are occupied by hawkers.
Research by an IIT Kharagpur professor has pointed out that the reason for a public amenity lying unused is that it cannot be easily accessed. This holds true for the footbridge, whose access ways are inconvenient for the public. The traffic on the stretch will lessen once Prince Anwar Shah Road connector is widened.
— Rith Basu