Anticipating complaints over the new system, the Commissioner said: “Any new system will have problems initially. I request the people to try this system for a month, instead of complaining from day one. But, their suggestions and complaints will be accepted to carry out necessary changes after the trial period.”
A lot of planning had gone into the marking the lanes over a stretch of 16-km from Avanashi Road Flyover to Chinniampalayam in the city. Suggestions to improve it could be discussed with District Collector P. Umanath and Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra, he said.Dr. Umanath formally opened three lanes for traffic towards the city and Mr. Mishra opened the ones for vehicles heading out of the city. Deputy Commissioners of Police P. Nagarajan (Law and Order), N. Kamini (Crime and Traffic) and officials from Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation State Highways were present.
A number of policemen were posted at the launch site – Lakshmi Mills Junction – and at other spots on the road to guide buses, cars, lorries and two-wheelers to their respective lanes.Stressing a culture of compliance, Mr. Sivanandi cited the case of Singapore where police never stood at signals. Violations were caught on cameras. The police appeared suddenly if there was a violation and intercepted the vehicle concerned. Or, challans were issued to the driver later. On the other hand, people in Coimbatore jumped signals even in the presence of traffic policemen.
Road accidents were less in other countries only because of discipline among vehicle users.The Police Commissioner called upon bus drivers not to intimidate two-wheelers and other small vehicles while moving from their allocated middle lane to the one in the left to halt at stops.“People can guide each other if they crossed into the wrong lanes,” he suggested.
“The public have complained of bus stops hampering traffic flow because of being located near traffic signals. These will be identified and shifted,” he said.
Calling for total support from the people to the new lane system, the District Collector said such a system was being introduced in Coimbatore, next only to Chennai.“Even in Chennai, the lanes are not over such a long distance of 16 km,” he pointed out.
The new system was important here as Avanashi Road was known for heavy traffic. The State Government cleared the project for the lane system two years ago. But, the absence of a median had affected the pace of implementation. Now, the State Highways had taken up the median construction work and it would be over soon.Chairman of the District Road Safety Council, Dr. Umanath said a wide thoroughfare such as Avanashi Road always provided room for speeding.
The lane system now sought to eliminate this problem. “This system has to be sustained in the interest of preventing accidents,” he said.The Corporation Commissioner said the lane system was vital component of traffic regulation, especially to prevent accidents on roads with heavy traffic.
“I have suggested to the Police Commissioner that the District Administration, the City Police and the Coimbatore Corporation can sit together and work out measures to remove impediments to traffic flow and pedestrian movement and also the location of street vendors, Mr. Mishra said.Calling for efforts to generate greater awareness on this system, through the media and other fora, the Corporation Commissioner said this should result in the people making adherence to traffic rules a habit. Within minutes of the launch, a mixed reaction to the new system emerged.
Autorickshaw driver G. Ulaganathan said it would be difficult for the mostly slow-moving autorickshaws in the city to change from the lane next to the median to the one in the extreme left to pick up or drop passengers.“The last lane is ideal for autorickshaws and town service buses as we have to halt often. But, we welcome the overall system as it seeks to make the road safe.”
Abubakker Siddiq, who works for a private firm and uses a motorcycle, said the lane system would make the road safe, but the space for two-wheelers was too narrow.