Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parking woes force shoppers to walk or hire auto

Parking woes force shoppers to walk or hire auto

Bhargavi Kerur



Raghuttam SK, a young IT professional, and his wife carrying their baby girl thread their way through a maze of chaotic roads filled with fuming vehicles, squatters, hawkers, cows, and dogs to Chickpet for shopping.
"Whenever I come for shopping here, I park my car in a remote area and end up walking kilometres to shop around," says Raghuttam.
"While one half of Chickpet constituency has lung space in terms of parks and clean roads, the other half presents a clogged image. Unless a well thought of plan is not drawn up for these areas, the place is doomed," says an engineering student, Jayshree Hegde.
Chickpet continues to be the sari hub where cost and quality conscious people invariably go for their pick. But with the pavements in dilapidated condition and roads teeming with men and vehicles, shopping is a strenuous task, especially for families.
"The oldest part of Bangalore was all right till 10 to 15 years ago. But the situation today is different," says a textile shop owner, Anil Jibran. "This area was the victim of crass neglect by civic authorities. They were obsessed with newer areas while old areas lagged behind. This is the story of Chickpet," he adds.
"True, I love to shop here," agrees Pradnya Naik, a BPO employee struggling to make a wheel-way for her bike in the maze of vehicles parked on the BVK Iyengar Road. "But when I think of this struggle, I often drop the idea of coming here on my vehicle," says she.
"Why parking," asks a man in mid-life standing nearby. "There is hardly space for one to walk safely along," he quips.
The administrative reforms proposed by the civic authorities to revamp the infrastructure of Chickpet, Cottonpet and Taragupet have been hit by the rise in commercial activity, he adds.
Indeed, the stream of vehicles in the peak hours is to be seen to be believed. "Lack of space is not all," says Prasad PH, a young marketing executive. "The traffic management is amateurish, to say the least."
"Traffic line up from Ulsoorgate police station to KG Road, Mysore Bank Circle, the Chickpet area, and Uttarapet till the City Market bus stand leaves little parking space for vehicles. Where will the shoppers park their vehicles?" he asks.
"I take an auto whenever I venture into this part of the city. This saves me from parking woes and also saves my time in finding space for my vehicle," says Sheetal P, a management student.
Most of her friends do the same although autorickshaw drivers are anything but straight and friendly. "But we don't have to bother about the parking hassle and police towing away our vehicles," Sheetal says.
Parking will remain the Achilles' heel of Chickpet till the civic planners sit and seriously think of ways to end the trauma of vehicle owners, residents and shop owners say.

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