Saturday, October 29, 2005

Main roads teeming with people

Main roads teeming with people

The Hindu

Rain, lack of parking space are not a problem for festival shoppers

Bangalore: After a dull week, it was business as usual by Friday evening.

The lack of parking space on Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road, and Commercial Street means all adjacent streets are packed with vehicles, sometimes parked haphazardly.

Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road continue to be major shopping destinations because that is where you will find one of the city's oldest gentlemen's outfitters P.N. Rao and spanking new stores such as Wills Lifestyle.

The designer wear for those with deep pockets and discount items for the budget-conscious can be found next door to each other.

Parking meters with uniformed attendants and strictly limited parking time may have made it somewhat hard for shoppers on Commercial Street and Brigade Road. An hour is not sufficient for the habitual shopper. The moment one vehicle's metered time runs out there are three others waiting for that slot.

Has rain curtailed festival shopping? Yes and no, say mall and store managers. Those going to Bangalore Central, Garuda Mall or The Forum are assured of covered parking space and can move around in comfort, practically insulated from the weather outside.

Elsewhere, those who will not miss the thrill of going from store to store, wear waterproof jackets and carry umbrellas.

Getting a bit wet does not bother them.

The traffic chaos, contained on the main roads, spills over to other roads. Close to 400 cars and twice that number of two-wheelers are parked on Church Street at any given time.

Vehicles of shoppers at Safina Plaza and Commercial Street are lined up all along Main Guard Cross and on Dispensary Road and Dickenson Road.

Starved of parking space, they may be but the price factor does cheer most shoppers. Even those without bonuses, splurge. Retail prices of most clothing have remained and steady and some sell with discounts ranging up to 30 and 40 per cent. In other stores, "buy two and take third item free" offers prevail. The ongoing Bangalore Shopping Festival includes most major stores and you get lucky coupons and win prizes such as jewellery and exotic holidays. The jewellery stores expect sales to pick up from midweek.

The traffic police are taking no chances and have deployed additional personnel at all busy shopping centres. "We are strictly regulating parking where it is free and not allowing double parking even for brief periods ... autorickshaws will have to keep to their designated lanes wherever they exist," a senior police officer said in the middle of patrolling Mahatma Gandhi Road.


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