Lights Out!!

Having to live up to the various sobriquets - Silicon Valley (of India, of course), Hi Tech City, etc., - Bengaluru's dear old traffic police (also known as "mamas") decided it was time to go techie. So we have traffic junction cameras, synchronized greens and many such other. It's an entirely different matter that nobody really understands these things and none definitely care about them. Given the prevelance of illiteracy even amongst the educated, the traffic lights don't serve any purpose. After all, a red could mean anything from anger to hotness to non-veg food but I digress.
As I said, the traffic police is busy installing hi-tech devices to help solve the problem. In all the hoopla, what they miss out on is the fact that most of the traffic lights don't even work properly. Take the HSR BDA Complex junction for example. If you are driving down from Agara junction towards Silk Board, you actually have to cross this signal under a red. Yes, that's true. This particular traffic light hasn't been working for weeks now, so the road-user is left to ensure that the other directions are red and then assume that s/he is good to go. Excellent road signal training it becomes for the road romeos.
A month before it was the Iblur junction signal that wasn't working for weeks. Thankfully, someone had the brains to fix it up. How difficult is it to track and maintain traffic lights? Must be awfully tough as no one seems to do it.
Then there are times when the traffic policeman takes over signalling without switching off the traffic lights. This doesn't happen too often but when it does it adds to the confusion.

One of the main segment that is conveniently ignored by our road makers and police is the pedestrian crowd. The pedestrian lights almost never work and even if they do, the traffic marshall himself ignores it and goads the vehicles to move under a red. On a regular morning visit Silk Board junction to see what difficulty the pedestrians face. There are tens of pedestrians zigging and zagging their way amidst moving vehicles. Of course, the speeding cars don't ever slow down adding to the risk that you have to take to get across a road. Busy building multi-year, multi-hundred-crore flyovers, elevated roads and grade separators, the authorities don't have the time and the inclination to put up some very basic foot bridges for the pedestrians. I would especially like it if they could build sub-ways for pedestrians but I guess that's asking for too much of our incompetent BBMP and others.

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