Road Safety Remains Elusive For Punekars: Commuters Frustrated As City Grapples With Persisting Traffic Issues

Road Safety Remains Elusive For Punekars: Commuters Frustrated As City Grapples With Persisting Traffic Issues

Dissatisfied with the civic body and other government bodies, Punekars shared that roads such as Wagholi, Nagar Road, University Chowk, Sus Road, and others have become "unbreathable," with constant congestion making driving an arduous task

Hayat (Nozia) SayyedUpdated: Saturday, January 13, 2024, 04:09 PM IST
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Road Safety Remains Elusive For Punekars: Commuters Frustrated As City Grapples With Persisting Traffic Issues | Sourced

The ongoing Road Safety Week, marked by various celebrations in Pune, has faced criticism from daily commuters and pedestrians.

Citizens have questioned the irony of the city celebrating Road Safety Week while grappling with an alarming increase in road traffic accidents (RTAs), town planning failures, and inadequate traffic management.

Dissatisfied with the civic body and other government bodies, Punekars shared that roads such as Wagholi, Nagar Road, University Chowk, Sus Road, and others have become "unbreathable," with constant congestion making driving an arduous task.

A frustrated commuter stated, "There is absolutely no place to drive as the roads are always jam-packed," reflecting the sentiments of many others during discussions with The Free Press Journal.

Suheil Merchant, a daily commuter from Kalyani Nagar to Mundhwa Road, pointed out the contradiction of celebrating Road Safety Week while actual safety on the road remains “elusive.”

He called upon all stakeholders, including the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), and the traffic police department, to unite and address the city's poor management, stressing the need for a collaborative, long-term solution rather than just a week-long awareness drive.

Merchant claimed that the poor condition of the roads in the city and lack of traffic management are the town planning department's major failures and urged a joint effort from all government bodies to make Pune traffic-free and safe for daily commuters and pedestrians.

In response to concerns raised by the citizens, Vijay Kumar Magar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said, "One cannot deny the rising number of RTAs in the city, but there are various reasons attributed to the increase like road construction projects, issues with footpaths, road widening, and insufficient walking space for pedestrians and more."

Sharing the data, Magar added, "There is a significant rise in RTAs, with 872 recorded in 2022, resulting in 325 deaths and 507 serious injuries. In 2023, the numbers surged to 1,231 accidents, 334 deaths, and 709 serious injuries, indicating a nearly 30% increase from the previous year."

Hence, it is important to understand the rules while commuting and adhering to them to save oneself from losing life, he added.

'Town planning failure alone cannot be solely held responsible for poor road safety'

With citizens holding government bodies responsible for poor town planning, The FPJ spoke with Siddharth Shirole, the newly appointed member of PMRDA, about their concerns.

Shirole, who is also the Shivajinagar MLA, said, “Even though people are pointing out the failure of town planning in the city, one cannot ignore the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation and the increasing number of vehicles on the road in the last few years. The population has risen, and migration is huge.”

“It is important to plan ten years ahead for our city so that town planning is such that such concerns never arise. We at PMRDA are now actively working on a developmental plan for the city, focusing on infrastructure development, road widening, and proper town planning."

“Town planning failure alone cannot be solely held responsible for the poor road safety of the city, but, however, we will now be releasing a long-term plan for Pune in the next few months,” he revealed.

Lastly, he urged citizens to share solutions if any with him so that the suggestions can be added to the list of “developmental projects.”

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