Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bad roads and parking woes keep shoppers away

Bad roads and parking woes keep shoppers away

Senthalir S. Bangalore



Potholed and waterlogged roads often dug up for repair works and uncovered manholes greet people to the nerve centre of the city.
One of the busiest roads, Church Street houses many eating joints, business centres and book stalls. But people who come to shop or eat here complain that the road is not pedestrian-friendly.
"The pavements are badly maintained. It is difficult to walk. We come here to shop but the uneven pavements make it difficult for us to move on this road," says Nikhiet Afshan, a student.
The roads are also narrow with a lot of vehicles parked on either side of the road. Something has to be done for free movement of pedestrians, says Afshan.
"This is one of the main areas in the city. But the roads are filled with potholes. The manholes are sometimes dangerously left open," says Zainab, a young shopper.
Besides the bad roads, parking has become an big problem for shoppers and commuters. "I don't often come to Church Street because of this problem," says Chethana, a resident of Hebbal.
"We don't have any other choice but to go to the nearby malls," she adds.
Vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner on the street, says Suhail Yusuff, secretary of Brigade Shops and Establishments Association.
"There are many potholes on roads. Barricades are kept there. Even if the Palike asphalts a road, some civic agency will soon dig up the place for repair works. And after the work is done, nobody bothers to asphalt the repaired portion. These roads are left unattended posing risk to the people who travel on this road," Yusuff says.
Rainwater drains and cement racks are missing. Customers don't get parking space in the street. Many customers demand a proper parking space in basements of buildings. In order to provide better parking system, a regulation has to be in place, he adds.
There is need to provide automated parking lots. After automated system was introduced here, parking woes have lessened a bit.
According to V Ravichandar, chairman of Feedback consulting, Church Street is an important road. By making it a pedestrian plaza, the Palike can create a different experience.
"Bazaar culture is part of our tradition. If it's converted into a pedestrian plaza, we have a chance. In terms of shops, the character of the place will undergo change and business will boom. There will be pressure from Commercial Street and Brigade Road also for pedestrian plaza. This should be done in other parts of the city as well.
"There should be scope for social interaction and this can be definitely done. Vehicles should be banned. This will change the profile of the area and draw a new set of customers with a different demographic profile," says Ravichandar.
"The big firms in the area should try to work out a deal with building associations. There are many apartments in the area; their parking lots remain vacant during office hours. Companies can make use of such parking spaces, which will provide housing associations with steady returns. Cars can be provided with stickers for identification," he says.

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