Monday, November 23, 2009 by Arun Mathew
The Kowdiar-Vellayambalam stretch in the capital has become famous for the wrong reasons - Street Drags!

Being the best and straightest road in the city, the road has now seen several accidents. An outlet of a famous coffee outlet chain being the most popular in the city has come in the limelight rather unfortunately. Reports claim the racers hang out outside the outlet and floor their pedals from there. Sometime back, political activists ransacked the coffee outlet as if they were responsible for the races going on outside. Innocent customers and their vehicles were also damaged in the incident!


In the West, street drags are organized on weekends in quiet residential neighborhoods and have mass followers. The numbers watching may be so huge the cops cannot do much to control the crowds. In Bangalore, a lot of them are on the ring road network. In Kochi, a few years back, boy racers used to hit the island areas where there were a few long lonely stretches.

Drag racing is not a good idea on a stretch lined with residences and footpaths which is a favorite for morning walks.

While many of the accidents on the Kowdiar stretch can be attributed to the drags, there are other reasons for accidents on the particular stretch.

Intersections - There are at least 3-4 intersections on the stretch which are not signalled - Golf Links, TTC, Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bhavan Main entrance Jn etc.

Motorists leaving the gas station near TTC who wanna go towards the Nanthencode side take the easy way out - They cut the one-way to enter the TTC intersection and cross over to the Nirmala Bhavan school road.

Similarly, motorists wanting to go to the gas station near CCD cut across the stretch coming from Vellayambalam coz the entrance to the gas station is away from the intersection. The ideal way should have been to take a u-turn near the Raj Bhavan gate which a lot of our motorists won't risk coz it burns more fuel.


In the case of the pump near TTC, motorists have to ride all the way to the Jawahar Ngr interesection and u-turn if they wanted to go back in the Nathencode, Kowdiar directions (which is actually a bit too much). If proper planning had gone into these, the medians should have been left open to accommodate the gas station traffic.

Also, vehicles going down the road wanting to go towards Christ Nagar school, tend to turn a right (opp the Raj Bhavan main gate) into the Christ Nagar school road which is actually a one way.

Road Alignment - The road takes a sudden bend after the Raj Bhavan gate. Looks like poor alignment. If you stick to the 100+ kmph at the bend you are most likely gonna crash into the median opp the Raj Bhavan wall which is what happened to a friend a few months back. He was not drag racing but taking a swift ride down the road.


The immediate solutions seem to be installing speed breakers along the stretch (which will of course de-beautify the stretch, maybe) and implementing traffic signals.

Cameras can be installed to monitor traffic and repeat offenders.

You cannot stop the youth from visiting their favorite coffee shop! Neither can you stop motorists from filling up their gas tanks!

Saturday, November 21, 2009 by Arun Mathew
The next time you survive a pothole, call 1800 425 7771 and let them know you just did come out of a crater and you are about to enter the next one!

The PWD is launching the service this week so citizens can raise a complaint about the local pothole(s) and have the complaint attended to within 48 hours by the concerned engineers. Also, as part of this scheme, all concerned engineers would be given mobile phone connections for effective implementation.

Pretty cool! It should not be too hard to make a call to the above number on roads which resemble the moon, you will have enough time when negotiating the craters which will bring your car's speed down but just don't get booked for talking on the phone while driving!
Thursday, September 10, 2009 by Arun Mathew
Note: English is a funny language and you need to have an OPEN MIND to be able to take it in the right sense. Unfortunately, that is not the case with many of our readers! After a series of discussions with bloggers and members of the community, we have decided to edit and remove certain excerpts on this blog which refers to any particular cities, communities or individuals and which probably hurts sentiments of people who are working very very hard for the progress of their cities or communities and to see their cities Rise ;). 
Again, sadly, the truth remains and let us all try to change that!
Sad but True! Are we not tired talking about 'mega' stuff like ports, malls, research institutions & technology parks here? They will all come, surely, but rather slowly. That is the Kerala model of development and the common complaint is that it gets painfully slower in this part of the state.


What this capital city needs urgently along with other parts of the state is good infrastructure. I mean, hey who is gonna invest in your city if we do not have the basic infrastructure in place? That includes not just roads and other public infra, but social infrastructure too.


The other day, I was told by this development freak and a senior and leading businessman about why things don't just fall in place in this city. His explanation was "there is nobody to vouch for this city, most influential people & politicians here are from other parts of the state". How very true!


Wherever you are, you are the taxpayer and you expect returns. At least a smooth ride to work? That ride to work is something that could make or break your day?


I wake up every morning "Oh Lord, tell me which route I should take to work today? The one with real roads but too many buses parked in the middle of the narrow road or the crater-ridden roller coaster ride or how about that road which reminds me of step farming?"


We are moving to PrimeTimeCurry shortly, this will talk about everything from curry, sushi and tofu to our Sami, Jap and Mexican friends and maybe even our personal lives. There is a large world out there and having seen quite a bit of it, it is time to think global and not let our brains shrink.


See you there!

PS: All Blog Photos will be shortly uploaded to Flickr or the like and the link pasted here. Also, IBN Citizen Journalist and Metro Manorama links will be shortly up here. Thanks for your time!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 by Arun Mathew
I am just back after spending Onam in my hometown in the Central Travancore and I have to say we have some very very bad roads! After more than 300kms of smooth surfaces, this is what I had to endure in the last few days.
Marappalam - Pattom Rd.
Downhill from Kumarapuram
Akkulam - NH Bypass Rd.
Ulloor - Akkulam Rd.
NH Bypass - Poonthi Rd.
Somewhere near Karamana
Enroute Pattom

Saturday, September 5, 2009 by Arun Mathew
These are shots of road and traffic conditions from Trivandrum, dating back to maybe even 2006. In 2009, not much has changed around here, a few traffic lights and diversions are the only marked difference one can see. Otherwise, things have gotten worse especially down on the road, with all the digging up in the name of drinking water supply. Most roads leading to the city's favorite employer - Technopark, are either dug up or too narrow with too many bus stops.


What this city needs is basic infrastructure everywhere. Instead of emphasizing mega projects which in the current scenario may never see the light of day, administrators should concentrate on improving basic infrastructure.




You do not have to write essays for constructive criticism. It is quite simple. Even a layman knows that you need tar to fill potholes. I wish someone did something about it.


Meanwhile, enjoy the Pictures and open your eyes to Reality.

The Good, Bad, Ugly, Old and New!




These are pictures of places that have not really changed - be it 2005, 6, 7, 8 or 2009! If anyone is interested in yearly versions of these spots, please send me an email.

Kowdiar


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Sreekariyam (Bus Stop in the middle of 'road')






Akkulam


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NH Bye-pass (no street-lighting whatsoever)




MG Road


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Medical College


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And they keep comin' back ...

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