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Meeting Notes - Mr Sood, Sep 20

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Traffic
Placeholder for notes from this meeting. Started almost 2 hours late as Mr Sood had to rush off to another meeting. We were asked to wait till 1 if possible. We spent this time chatting up with each other, and even managed a lunch at Shivajinagar bus stand canteen. Right when we planned to call it a day, Mr Sood returned. psaram, idontspam, Deepika, Srivathsa, silkboard, Ravi and Devesh (only for the intro) were present. Look fwd to meeting notes from all.

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psaram42's picture

Meeting with Mr. Praveen sood 20September2008

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The meeting finally started at 2PM after a wait of 2hrs. Six of us were present after Devesh excused himself after getting Mr. Sood. Pranav started the ball rolling with a proposal of Praja being identified with one of the wards. Praveen felt that it would be better if Praja identifies with one of the Corridors of Bangalore instead.

The discussion was mainly around BTRAC analysis, enforcement, spreading awareness of Traffic hazards, sharing some hoardings space for spreading Traffic awareness with Praja among others. It was evident that Praveen was happy sharing most of the research and planning material with Praja. However a clear cut agenda of Praja interaction is yet to reveal itself.

Praveen was indicating that BMP is planning to construct 8 flyovers. However it was not clear what role was played by the traffic police in the decision process and the strategy in arriving at the numbers and their locations.

Praja was happy to note some of the significant contributions made by Traffic Police initiative in modification of many key junctions in Bangalore.

 

idontspam's picture

Meeting updates

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Mr sood updated us on the activities and accomplishments of his unit. Major projects were assisting BBMP in Junction improvements and improving flow of traffic wherever he sees opportunities. He was open to praja help On enforcement - BTP have been increasing the fine collection and been catching more offenders in this year than any other year in the past. He is now specifically targetting Car owners and Taxis as they are the major offenders On fines - He doesnt believe he can increase fines as they are centrally governed. Any other means of increasing fines (like cess etc) will not stand up in court. On adopting roads - Praja can com up with ideas for adopting corridors and he is willing to support . SB suggested benchmarking traffic to be able to measure. He mentioned the next 2 years is going to be a bad time to do it as a lot of areas are going into construction. Especially ring road from silk board to hebbal is going to get 8 new underpass/flyover to make it signal free. There are projects on mysore road etc. Lot of places are going under the axe and he promised it is going to get worse before it can get better. On education - While his team works with schools on educating children the only ohter option of messaging is ads. He is willing to provide ad space etc if companies or Praja can do the implementation as a part of CSR On signal lights - This is one thing he really has control over and personally looks into. He is going to be introducing more vehicle actuated signals. On the "road to BIA" - He is not in favour of closing junctions to make the corridor signal free. He does not believe in cutting of access to the people on either side to cross over and make a living (s_yajaman & SB were nodding furiously here). So he is going to introduce (1) Vehicle actuated lights on this strech and (2) Pelican lights to get the people to cross over more safely. Any signal free corridor has to involve building flyovers/grade seperators on those stretches. And when those come up he will remove the lights. Until then they wil stay. He did agree with me over/underpasses are better option than pelican lights but those are not in his control and he has also suggested to BBMP that overpasses get built. He is also planning to put up cameras on all the junctions on this road so people know they are being watched. He noted Yajamans suggestion of putting up video survelliance boards announcing "you are being watched". He is making the entire stretch stop free by putting up tow away sign boards soon. On cameras - The current 40 cameras going to 80 cameras is only a pilot which is yet to stabilize. He mentioned plans have been finalized for laying a specialized control room on the likes of Network Ops Rooms with celing to floor video wall. This will take 3 years to build and only then can they expand the video survillance system to cover more areas.
Ravi_D's picture

Meeting Notes

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Above notes cover the meeting well. Here is my take... pardon any duplication - wrote the following before I read the above comments completely: Enforcement is up. ACP shared some numbers, and violations booked have increased significantly. Expect more in the coming months. Idontspam: can you pls quote the numbers? Expect traffic to go south in the next two / three year period; and most of it is beyond the control of Traffic police. A number of flyovers (did we hear 8?) are going to simultaneously come up on the ring road. Metro work is going to gobble up whatever little room there is left on several major arteries / intersections. Mysore road is going to get 'rewarded' with Metro and elevated road!. ACP had some new studies on his desk to figure out improvements before and after certain projects are implemented. Certainly admirable that such 'status reports' are prepared (and are ready) for a good number traffic ‘corridors' in the city. ACP shares the view Praja members seem to have realized. Traffic improvement is not automatic with 'Signal free' corridors. In fact, his plan is to double the number of signal controlled junctions in the city, and take policeman out. Airport road is going to get some signals and pelican light, but when they are vehicle actuated, wait should be negligible. As he rightly said, if a driver cannot wait for 30 seconds, he does not deserve to be on the road. The existing infrastructure for traffic monitoring and surveillance was more of a pilot study. A small percentage of existing junctions have cameras. Current infrastructure cannot support exponential increase needed to make this an effective tool. An impressive new facility with a traffic control system (complete with video wall, required computing equipment and manpower) will come up in the next couple of years or so (that is the time to build the structure and to procure equipment - add some to get it operational). This would be used for traffic management and enforcement. City Police is hindered by the same set of issues all of us have. We know how hard it is to stand in the middle of the junction and try and help, get abused by drivers, eat and drink pollution. Feeling I get is that it may be equally difficult to get city agencies to hear and understand the needs of the city as seen from Traffic Police standpoint. Two areas we could help: > Help spread the word of work being done (many ways - discuss details, share facts, provide a database of sorts for traffic police related info) > Educating the populace (create awareness, help get your companies to advertise) Interestingly, ACP also metioned (a couple of times atleast) he is looking for some good folks to do some work to improve their website. He has some ideas - Any takers? Thanks, Ravi
Devesh's picture

ACP = Assistant Commissioner of Police

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Additional Commissioner of Police is AdCP. 

I hate to rain on our parade, but one of the basic problems the Police face is the unbridled corruption and "hafta" system. It involves everyone including politicians and the police department.

This rampant corruption prevents even the best intentioned and most capable officers from correcting and addressing the traffic chaos.

Bangalore Police also have a history of commencing special crackdowns and then letting them lapse in a few days. This inconsistentcy reduces their authority in the eyes of the average road user.

A force multiplier for the police would be the erstwhile Road Safety Patrol (RSP) which was later renamed to Students Association for Road Safety (SARS). As a RSP cadet in my school days, I know its effectiveness. Praja members who are parents can help the police liaise with school administration to make this project a sucess. It will require just 1 police constable at the school every morning and every afternoon. Students should get their SUPW credit for this.

Similarly, the traffic warden and volunteer system should be strengthened and promoted. Today, just getting the forms from the Infantry Road office is a major headache. The forms should be made available on the Net and at every police station.

Another area where Praja can help, is to work with Industry Chambers and help arrive at localised solutions to traffic issues in our neighbourhoods. For instance, I am aware of the need of a "magic box" at Forum signal, and also a Skywalk. We can propose these to BBMP, and use the clout of Chambers to push things through.

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Regards

Devesh R. Agarwal

Visit my aviation blog at http://aviation.deveshagarwal.com

 

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Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
idontspam's picture

BBMP Vs BTP

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One of the things that dawned on me is, beyond enforcement and junctions/signals. Much else is really governed by BBMP. BBMP is the organization that can put the infrastructure in place. The ACP does proactively work with organizations like BDA and BBMP to solve anything that smoothens traffic and causes less headache to his department, but he can only go as far as to suggest and propose. He showed us some good work being done by BTP at Banashankari. Regarding special drives. I am personally against having a drive for a specific period without being able to sustain it. It is not a best practice but considering the reality, s_yajaman and Silkboard proposed planned drives in conjunction with Ads to help in education and enforcement. I understand that the ACP is interested if we can take concrete proposals to him. Another pet issue I brought up is the standard of road markings. He agreed where we are, isnt even close to IRC standards which itself is way behind european standards. Couldnt press him on this any further as I was hungry and tired and had another personal appointment coming up at 5. Myself and SB had to split with the rest of the folks hurriedly even as Deepika was continuing to engage the ACP seperately. Systemic issues were not discussed. I have agreed on posts earlier and also with Devesh prior to the meeting that systemic issues do exist but I am not sure BTP is willing to share how much actually exists and how well we are placed to address it. We would do well to take up quick wins and demonstrate our committment. One of the things SB brought up is awareness in the public about the work being done by BTP is low. The ACP did mention they releasse to the press every sunday the good work being done but that rarely gets a mention. He is willing to link up to Praja website (dedicated micro-site) from BTP official site if we can host facts and figures he provides us. We may have to discuss this amongst ourselves and then provide him with a plan of action.
idontspam's picture

Fine collection stats

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Ravi_D's picture

Re: BBMP Vs BTP

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IDS's post reminds me of what I forgot to write in my last post... "Feeling I get is that it may be equally difficult to get city agencies to hear and understand the needs of the city as seen from Traffic Police standpoint." It is becoming extremely clear that an organization like BMLTA certainly has a very very important role to play. I sense a lot of 'let us try and fix it, SOMEHOW'. Well intended and good hearted attempts to improve the situation they may sure be, but without a clear goal and a coordinating entity, goals of different organizations end up conflicting each other, producing lesser on-the-ground improvement. And from what I have learnt so far, BBMP certainly seems to be the 500 pound gorilla in the middle of it all. What can Praja do to help them do better? Calling Mr. BMLTA. Pls show us (and the 20 odd civic agencies) the way!. Let us end up adding (and not subtracting) good individual contributions. Thanks, Ravi
Naveen's picture

Great Going !

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Good to hear praja folks meeting up with traffic police (Mr.Sood). The ideas presented made good reading. Bravo ! & let's keep it going.

silkboard's picture

my notes

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Coming here late with my notes. But folks above haven't left anything uncovered. My takeaways from the meeting were

  • With a lot of work about to start - Metro digging, 8 flyovers on Outer Ring Road's east loop, and possibly some elevated roads (not sure about this) - next 2-3 years could be hell. 
  • As we have learned in our interactions with BMTC, BMLTA, and Traffic Police, responsibilities are split across carious bodies. Cyncis will add the word 'conveniently', but I will try to sound a bit constructive and say that we need to forget lobbying about individual projects and specifics like enforcement, pavements. This city needs to institutionalize of this very thing they call "coordination". We don't need ABIDe or more of the same - a powerless BMLTA, and BMTC, BBMP, BTP blaming each other. We don't need 3 ministers, several MLAs, several Babus, and several high profile activists to be runnign the ciy with no clear idea of where the buck should stop. We need closure on Kasturirangan committe report. Period.
  • BTRAC is moving well, Mr Sood is proud of it, and expects improvements on corridors. A big new traffic management is in the works, we saw the designs of what looked like a traingle shaped building with interiors looking like a NOC or data center.
  • Effective behavioral change is a long term project. Don't think Traffic Police is doing anything there right now, except some of their programs in working with the schools.
  • We, as Praja, can monitor or even help with Mr Sood's teams wok on a selected corridor. Mr Sood said they are about to take up Kundalahalli to Trinity Circle corridor for improvements. I am game, if some more can join, lets watch it up close - what really they do, and how transparently.
  • Mr Sood's team collects stats, and I asked for stats that will help us see if BTRAC etc actually have improved things. We should get all stats they collect and prepare some indices that can tell us whether a given corridor has worsened or improved in a given period of time. For example, I can see that Whitefield to J P Nagar drives have started taking less time, but Whitefield to Domlur commute takes much worse that it used to when HAL airport was operational. How do I explain this, and can I get some stats that will say the same thing that I experience. Without any real measurement, its all opinions, isn't it - has Bangalore gotten better, or worse in last one year?

All in all, felt good to meet Mr Sood. I admire any babu, IAS or IPS type who sounds enthusiastic and positive despite being in the thick of it all - misgiuded projects filled with lack of transparency.

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