Traffic snarls following half marathon and F-1 roadshow (Lead)

November 9th, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) The commuters here Sunday had a tough time as the capital’s roads were blocked twice for hours, first for the Delhi Half-NMarathon and later for the Formula-One roadshow at Rajpath. The Delhi traffic police had issued advisories in advance but seemingly uninformed traffic officials added to the drivers’ woes.

“I had a meeting in Chanakyapuri, close to the marathon route. There was no sane way of getting there. After taking a really long route that took nearly 40 minutes of manoeuvring through lanes I didn’t know existed, I reached my destination. That is a 15 minutes’ drive from my place on normal days,” said Abhinay Goel, a media consultant.

Other commuters too played the guessing game moving through the maze of lanes to get to their destinations.

Rambika Kameshwar, a danseuse, was here in Delhi as a speaker at a seminar on performing arts and disability. She said: “It was a marvel that I reached, although about an hour late. I reached only thanks to my driver who knew the small lanes in the vicinity, and was able to avoid the confused traffic.”

Many other commuters turned back, feeling that their “Sunday plans were ruined” since the rerouting information wasn’t publicised well.

“At all the turns there was no sign saying which route to take. Some cops were helpful but they too seemed unsure. Finally we turned back,” said Ramesh, whose planned lunch with friends at Lodhi Road didn’t happen because the route for the marathon coincided with the route from his home in Moti Bagh.

The Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon was held here in the morning. The categories for the event included Half Marathon (21.097 km), Dream Run (6 km), Senior Citizens’ Run (4.3 km), and Wheelchair Event (2.5 km).

Over 30,000 people took part in the event that traced its route through the India Gate, Safdurjung Tomb and Lodhi Garden.

The Formula-One roadshow held for the first time in the country was a visual spectacle at Rajpath. It was open to the public from 12 p.m. onwards.

The event is being brought to India at the invitation of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games of India 2010, and is billed as part of “700 Days to go for the Commonwealth Games 2010″ celebrations.

Joint Commissioner (Traffic) S.M. Srivastava, however, said adequate measures were taken and the commuter’s choice to take the blocked roads despite notice “could not be helped”.

Srivastava said: “There was absolutely no problem, as all the arrangements were planned in advance to conduct the marathon. We had issued traffic advisory about routes in advance and about the alternative routes people can take to avoid being stuck. “

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