Bhubaneswar Urban Lectures IV: Civic and Transport officials & planners brainstorm on Road safety improvements in city

Bhubaneswar: As every city aspires to have safer roads for its citizens and the No. 1 Smart City of the country is planning to have a liveable and child-friendly urban ecosystem in near future, BDA, BMC, BUKC and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited in association with stake holders and other line departments of the State Government and experts from World Resources Institute (WRI India) converged to have a blue print for safer roads in the Temple City. However, the implementation of the plan through a two-day workshop on road safety will culminate at Rupali Square so that citizens can have a hands-on model to experience the road safety elements in action.
Addressing the inaugural session, BDA Additional Commissioner-cum- Member Enforcement Bhabani Shankar Chayani said the intent is to protect the interests of the pedestrians, motorists along with all road users. The more we hold such discussions, the more advocacy groups and forums would be formed in order to create greater awareness in the society. There are innumerable stake holders on streets and junctions like vendors, market committees including those, who are in the business of bulk supply of power and other essential components need to sit together to brainstorm on the road safety issues, he added.
ACP Traffic Jatin Panda said “key issue on a traffic junction like Rupali Square is the sudden wider road mouth immediately after the fixed lanes leading to overtaking and erratic driving by motorists threatening lives of the pedestrians and also putting other road users in trouble.’’ Stating that it is very important to look at the interest of pedestrians as they are the most vulnerable section on such a junction, the senior traffic official also observed that we must save them from the “mercies of the motorists.’’
Admitting that due to lack of identified pedestrian space and crossings the traffic dynamics is often delayed, he also said that there should be clearly identified space for all road users. We also need to have more sensitising sessions for the people to use public transport as the rising use of private vehicles have put both logistical and environmental pressure on the city to handle the situation, he further added.
BDA Secretary Ramesh Chandra Rout said “parking facilities need to be structured properly and innovative ways need to be found to arrest the dangers of vehicular pollution and rash driving by young adults in the city.’’
GM (Engineering and Technology) Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited Simanchal Moharana said “urban road accidents are mostly due to the faults of drivers and some due to faulty road engineering, but in NHs the accidents are occurring due to several factors. However, now-a-days GPS data from all vulnerable accident spots are regularly being tracked and sent to the Government of India to create a country-wide database on road safety measures and their management.’’
BDA Planning Member Sudhiranjan Mohanty said “earlier roads were designed for vehicles, but now across the world roads are designed keeping in view the requirements of pedestrians, elders, women and all other users including vendors and stakeholders. The innovative on-site road safety improvement plan chalked out to manage the traffic issues at Rupali Square by BUKC and WRI India will certainly help the city in gaining an edge in better traffic management.’’
RTO Sanjay Kumar Behera called for a coordinated road building and planning of the city infrastructure so that while we are expanding roads and add other infrastructure to the existing ones, enough breathing space is there to accommodate the new ones. He also called for cleaner surroundings near intersections for better and safer arrival and departure of the commuters.
BMC Additional Commissioner Alok Kumar Kar said “speed bikers and erratic auto-rickshaws drivers have become a great concern for road safety in the city including the pilling of unauthorised construction and building material wastes along roads. Transport of the building materials in trucks and tractors is also causing hardships for the road users.’’
Zonal Deputy Commissioner (North) Subhranshu Mishra said “More focus need to be put to create public awareness on road safety measures. We should not impose a controlled atmosphere across the city, but persons violating traffic rules repeatedly must get exemplary punishment.’’
Saying that road safety responsibility lies with all the stake holders using the road network, the ZDC also called upon the city authorities to work in a coordinated way for better and safer roads.
Senior Administrative Officer BDA Madhumita Rath said “parents need to be sensitised on preventing kids below 18 years from riding motorbikes and strict enforcement of road safety and traffic rules.’’
World Resources Institute India expert Dhawal Ashar said “there should be a behavioural change among the conscious citizens for better implementation of road safety measures.’’
Mentioning that road accidents cause the third largest case of death in the world, Ashar also compared the daily deaths across the world due to road accidents with crash of 10 jumbo jets in a day. The elements of road safety, according to him include enforcement, management, road infrastructure and behaviour.
The a day-long discussion on the road safety measures at the BMC Conference Hall today had participants from BDA, BMC, PWD, Commissionerate Police, Transport Department, BSCL and BUKC.
City-based artists and several child leaders from various slums in the city along with urban planners and experts brainstormed on the possible design interventions and improvements at Rupali Square. They were divided into eight groups to develop eight different drawings, which were later integrated and made a final draft to be followed as the baseline for the changes to be made at Rupali Square junction tonight.

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