Friday, October 16, 2009

Festival rush too much for roads

Festival rush too much for roads

If you have plans to shop now, be ready to wade and wait in traffic

Shwetha S. Bangalore



Deepavali — it's that time of year when you will want to step out and shop. Be warned, however, that almost all the commercial areas in the city face an acute parking problem. There are construction works in progress on many major city roads, and space available for free flow of traffic has shrunk.
In the past few days, traffic has been reduced to a crawl on many stretches near commercial areas—driving down these roads even at a time of day when one does not expect peak-hour traffic can be harrowing.
Ongoing infrastructure projects have shrunk MG Road, Brigade Road, Indiranagar 100 Feet Road, Jayanagar, Chickpet, and CMH Road. At Commercial Street, civic authorities have been digging up the roads to lay pipes underneath—work has been ongoing for the past few weeks. At Ibrahim Street, parking space has shrunk by nearly half on account of ongoing infrastructure work.
Construction on the Metro project has shrunken the CMH Road. Parking is thus quite an uphill task here. On MG Road, before construction of the Metro began, there was no dearth of two-wheeler parking space. This is sadly no longer the case. Ajay Motwani, of the Commercial Street Shopkeepers' Association, said, "We now have far many more people visiting the area, on account of the festival. So a parking problem was bound to happen."
A mere casual glance, however, will reveal that it is not merely the number of people who arrive here that is the problem — roads are in a bad shape and space available for traffic has been constricted.
One security guard posted near Commercial Street said, "We have huge crowds arriving, and anyone who wishes to park here had better arrive between 9:30am and noon. Parking becomes quite a problem after that." With work in progress on both Commercial Street and Ibrahim Street, nearly 40% of the road space can't be used.
Syed Imtiaz Ahmed, president of the CMH Road Shops and Establishments Association, said that with CMH Road in such a mess with ongoing Metro work, police have opened it up for free parking. But the 100 Feet Road at Indiranagar cannot serve as parking space, and allows only a trickle of traffic on some stretches. In previous years, to beat the rush of festival traffic, residential areas in the vicinity served as parking lots. However, residents have since lodged complaints to prevent the use of their space for parking, leaving Deepavali shoppers this year in a spot.
Suhail Yusuf of Brigade Road Shops and Establishments' Association said, "We already have an automated parking system on Brigade Road, so we need not have special parking lanes. Motorists must just be cautious and arrive early so that they do not face parking problems here."

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