Applauding Gurgaon Police

Where I come from, almost every town or city centre has at least one one-way system – because they work! Journey distances may get a bit longer, but the volume of traffic that the system can realistically carry is vastly increased, meaning that time taken is reduced significantly (along with frustration and accidents!)

Gurgaon saw its first significant move in this direction around Cyber Greens and there’s no question that it’s made a big difference in that area. So, I am so pleased to see a brand new one-way system coming in to effect – one that we in The Shri Ram School have been advocating for over 2 years.

Credit must go to Police Commissioner, SS Deshwal, DCP Maheshwar Dayal (Gurgaon East) and DCP Bharti Arora (Traffic) for moving ahead with this. Responsibility for now making it work now passes to the citizens of Gurgaon and especially members of the TSRS community.

As you will see from the newspaper cutting below, the impact is substantial:

The Shri Ram School has always wanted to be a good neighbour. We never took any pleasure in the difficulties created for residents of Regency Park II or Hamilton Court at the times when children are arriving at the school or leaving in the afternoons. I believe this one way system really represents a win-win for everyone. With the traffic flowing smoothly even at the biggest times I’m hopeful it will be a biog plus for quality of life of residents. I also believe it will be a lot safer and smoother for the parents and children of our school. If or when they need to cross the road, they will only need to contend with traffic from one direction. Hopefully they will all get dropped on the school side of the road now.

A little self-discipline to make the new system work will be in everyone’s interests.

2 Responses

  1. The one-way traffic plan on the Hamilton Court Road as it is envisioned now is fraught with risks of aggravating the traffic woes as also greatly inconveniencing the residents of the neighbouring complexes.

    The traffic problem that the school is facing is caused SOLELY by the disorderly conduct of vehicles dropping and picking up the school kids and only for about 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon.

    At other times traffic flow is normal on the road in question. Importantly, being parallel to MG Road, the road acts as a secondary conduit that commuters turn to in case of logjam in MG Road. Permanently restricting free flow of traffic here shall prove disastrous when MG Road traffic collapses as it cannot be diverted to this road as is being done now. Furthermore, one-way restriction shall push more traffic from Hamilton Court Road wanting to reach IFFCO Chowk and the Metro line road, to MG road making it a nightmare.

    Access can be made one way around markets as is being done presently around Galleria where the extra time and distance travelled is acceptable. There are service roads available to residents on both sides in case they wish to go to a point, access to which is otherwise restricted on the main road.

    Cyber City detour works because besides ensuring smooth one way flow of traffic, provision for traffic wanting to reach NH8 from MG Road has been specially made by cordoning off areas and specially earmarking access route which had not existed earlier.

    But the current plan in the absence of service roads and viable alternatives, for Hamilton Court residents for eg., is untenable when they want to go to City Club right next door or to Galleria which is two buildings away. They have to contend with the traffic light at the Golf Course – Hamilton Court road intersection, the roundabout at the beginning of the bypass road, the Supermart Traffic light AND the Galleria one to reach next door, literally! Residents wanting to merely amble in the environs of the market can walk across but those shopping, which most of us do, shall be forced to take their vehicle there via this circuitous route.

    On Saturday when I was forced to take the detour (Golf Course road- Richmond Park-Supermart-Galleria) to reach Hamilton Court from DLF 1 at about 11.30 am, the extra time taken was 15 minutes (not counting the added kms). I do not even want to guess what it would take at peak hours.

    In my humble opinion, making the road permanently one way is not the solution. I had suggested to the school two years ago when the school’s traffic woes had started, to make the road one way only at start and dispersal time, for about an hour. I know for a fact this works, as in Chennai this is being implemented with success and the least inconvenience to both the school and the residents. St. Patrick’s School in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar where my home is follows this system, as do the schools on the San Thome Road. It may be relevant to bear in mind that the roads in question are really narrow and not wide like Hamilton Court road. Temporary barriers are erected making the roads one way and police personnel are present to ensure compliance. Cars are parked not close to the school’s entry but further away so that children’s safe passage is not compromised as they enter and exit.

    In our case, access may be curtailed from the City Club traffic light up to the Golf Course road lights for one hour, morning and afternoon and vehicles dropping kids from the Golf Course road may be allowed to drive only up to a certain point, say, opposite the MLA Housing Society where the kids should be dropped off. The rest of the stretch up to the school entry shall be made pedestrian only, thus ensuring the children’s safe entry and exit.

    Coming to the matter of school buses and vehicles of staff, a lane may be reserved on the left of the road, demarcated with bollards for eg., allowing access ONLY to school buses and staff vehicles. It goes without saying that policing is required at that point for compliance and also for not allowing exceptions to the rule (VIPs etc) In the absence of strict enforcement, the plan will fail.

    One way access should be permitted from the Golf Course Road towards Galleria and not as was tried on Saturday (Metro rail road towards Golf Course road). Commuters travelling to IFFCO Chowk can head straight as usual while those heading to MG Road can access it via Shushant Lok/ Laburnum Roads during that one hour. And those heading to the Golf Course road shall take the road next to Galleria towards Super Mart.

    Can you make availing school bus transportation incumbent on those residing beyond a certain distance from school? Could you insist upon it for those seeking new admission to the school?

    Do not expect self-discipline. You should know by now that traffic indiscipline and non-compliance to rules know no caste, class, literacy or poverty barrier in this country.

    Only enforcement without any exceptions, shall bear fruit but I doubt if that would be possible in our set up.Until then this shall be a mere academic exercise.

    I apologise for being long-winded. Just putting down my thoughts to paper.

    • Our original proposal was for a ‘limited period’ one-way system during school start and finish times. Obviously what the police have gone with is a far more radical experiment. My guess is that to keep it moving and flowing smoothly they might need to eliminate some of the lights on the route, or at least to change the timings on those lights so that they favour keeping the traffic in the one-way flowing.

      As I said, over the years I’ve got very used to one-way systems in England. Yes, when going to a new town for the first time I’ve got caught out when I’ve missed my turn and had to go all the way round (sometimes the loop can be up to 10 miles). However, I’ve also seen that such systems are able to handle far bigger flows of traffic around busy areas.

      I’m also somewhat ashamed to agree with you that thoughtless parking and behaviour by some parents has severely exacerbated the situation outside our school. However, on that road and the one from golf course road to Park Plaza via Supermart I see some of the biggest problems caused by people who insist on going down the wrong side to steal a march on the traffic in front of them (not moving fast enough for their liking). At times, this causes blockages so bad that people have to get out and direct the traffic to clear cars away from the jam one at a time. These kinds of blockages should never happen on a one-way system.

      I think the best thing is for us all to give it a go, keep an open mind and be part of an open dialogue with the police for any fine tuning that might be required. I, for one, have had great difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that sometimes systems have to change because if we wait for the misbehaving minority to come in to line, we’ll wait for ever.

      As for ‘forcing’ all to use the school buses beyond a certain distance – I asked this question about 3 years ago when i came to know that some prominent Mumbai schools do it. I would love to hear people’s thoughts, though at the time I was told, “This is Delhi/ North India – people don’t take kindly to compulsion here!”

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