Parama traffic plan tweaked

Calcutta police have altered the traffic-change timings for the Parama flyover, aiming to distribute vehicular load equally on and off the flyover during the morning and evening peak hours.

By Monalisa Chaudhuri
  • Published 28.10.15
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Calcutta police have altered the traffic-change timings for the Parama flyover, aiming to distribute vehicular load equally on and off the flyover during the morning and evening peak hours.

According to the new plan introduced last week, vehicles from the city are allowed to travel towards the Bypass from 9am to 9pm. From 9pm till 9am the next morning, the flyover is open to traffic both ways.

Although one-way movement starts at 9am, traffic sources said city-bound traffic would be barred from taking the flyover from the Bypass end at least 15 minutes earlier.

Until last week, the flyover timings were synchronised with vehicle movement on Park Street. Vehicles could enter the city from the Bypass end of the flyover till 1pm and go in the reverse direction from 1pm till 10pm.

Traffic timings on the new flyover, officially called Ma, have seen multiple changes since its inauguration earlier this month.

Why change the timings?

City police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha told Metro that the new traffic system had been devised to ensure that vehicles heading in either direction - towards the city from the Bypass and from the city towards the Bypass and beyond - could take the flyover at least once during their to-and-fro journey.

"Many people had complained that only a section of motorists was enjoying the convenience of a swift commute through the new flyover. So, with a little tweak in the timings, we are aiming at equal distribution and optimum utilisation of the available road space," Kar Purkayastha said.

The new timings mean that someone coming from the city towards Salt Lake for work can take the flyover in the morning, but will have to return through the Park Circus connector in the evening. Another person entering the city after 9am through the Park Circus connector will be able to take the flyover to return home in the evening.

What is the traffic logic?

An IPS officer in Lalbazar said the traffic model chosen for the flyover shouldn't be construed as a conclusion that the number of vehicles leaving the city is larger than the number entering it.

"This is just a model for equal distribution of traffic. The idea is that the majority of the people - both city-bound and those leaving the city - benefit from the flyover. A comprehensive survey is required to determine the volume of traffic entering and leaving the city," the officer explained.

Sources said the police had approached the transport department to carry out an origin-destination study - a detailed survey of the number and parameter of vehicles leaving the city, starting from their origin to the termination point, the time they return etc. A similar survey of vehicles heading towards the city has been recommended.

What are the peeve points?

"The police are considering only office-bound traffic. What about other vehicles? I had thought a flyover on this stretch would cut short my journey time. But now I have to plan my journey based on the flyover timings," rued Tanmay Dasgupta.

According to another motorist affected by the changes, it is ironical that a flyover meant to double the road space has been reduced to a one-way route.

Are the timings permanent?

The new traffic model will be in force till around Diwali. Calcutta police intend to hold a meeting with other agencies to review the situation around that time.

"The timings have being temporarily changed.... A more stable solution can be achieved, depending on when the next phase of work (beyond the Park Circus descent of the flyover) begins and ends," police chief Kar Purkayastha told Metro.

SIGNAGE SNAFU

Inadequate signage on the Parama flyover is creating problems for motorists, who are forced to slow down or 
stop near the point where the two arms of the Bypass-bound flank branch out. After taking the wrong arm because of inadequate signage and confusing alignment, many cars are reversing a few metres to take the right one at the risk of accidents. Motorists said there should be more signage and some well ahead of the point where the two Bypass-bound arms branch out. Metro was on the flyover on Tuesday evening and witnessed the confusion 

A sign about 100m from the point where the arms of the flyover diverge. It is one of the signage that the authorities have put up since the flyover was opened. Motorists feel many more are needed and they need to more prominently displayed and clearer in conveying their message. 

“Signage should be visible to the motorist. Do not expect a driver to hunt for signage. A driver has to first see two-wheelers and cars in front and on either side. Signage should be bright and so many that the driver doesn’t miss any,” said a motorist.

Another Calcuttan said he couldn’t understand the signage even after seeing it. 

A motorist who had taken the Bypass-bound arm instead of the one towards Ruby by mistake about 10 days ago could take a U-turn only in Salt Lake. “Everywhere it was written ‘U-turn prohibited’. I took the Chingrihata flyover and entered Salt Lake to take a U-turn to come towards Ruby,” he said. 

This car (circled) was supposed to go towards Silver Spring on the Bypass but the driver took the wrong arm, the one meant for vehicles going towards Ruby. By the time the driver slammed the brakes, the car was on the wrong arm. He had to reverse and take the route to Silver Spring even as other vehicles taking the Ruby-bound flank whizzed past. 

“My driver to made a similar mistake. We reversed a few metres and then took the right arm,” said Bhargab Maitra, a professor of civil engineering in IIT Kharagpur. 

“I think few more signage are required so that motorists are alerted well in advance,” said Maitra. 

What adds to the confusion among motorists is that the arm on the right actually goes left and the one on the 
left goes right. 

“Proceeding from the Ruby is on the right but the Ruby bound flank is on the left while Silver Spring is on left while the Silver Spring bound flank is on right,” said a motorist. 

Metro stood on the flyover for about 10 minutes on Tuesday evening and found four cars and a two-wheeler making the mistake.

A police officer said they had a vehicle with electronic message board parked at the Park Circus-end of the flyover. “We flash the message ‘Ruby/Garia bound vehicles avail left flank,” said the police officer.

 

This taxi (circled) took the flyover from the seven-point crossing to go towards Ruby on the Bypass. The driver took the flank on his extreme right — which is meant for vehicles coming from Spring Club towards Park Circus when the flyover is two-way — only to realise near the bifurcation that he has to take the arm on the left. He stopped the taxi at a gap in the divider between the flanks, cut right across the other flank on the Spring Club-bound arm to reach the Ruby-bound arm.  

A police officer said there were three cuts on the flyover for vehicles to change flanks when the traffic is one-way. “Motorists coming from Park Circus should try to take the first two cuts near Congress Exhibition Road and the Gobinda Khatik Road crossing,” said a police officer.

 

Reporting by Subhajoy Roy; pictures by Sanat Kumar Sinha