Thursday, June 29, 2006

Traffic mess continues near schools

Traffic mess continues near schools
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Cars are parked haphazardly on the road, bringing the heavy flow of traffic to a standstill. Relentless honking and curses rent the air even as a hapless policeman tries to clear the clutter, only resulting in further chaos.

This is the scene near schools in the central business district. Parents of children drop and pick up children by parking their cars on the road, obstructing traffic.

The ‘Safe Route to School’ project initiated by the police department last year was meant to solve this problem. But, parents this year have gone back to their cars. Most parents say it’s not safe to send their children alone.

"We prefer to drop and pick up children on our own, as they are very young. The school does not allow cars in after a certain time. Hence we park outside. This takes just three minutes," a parent said.

The police had identified 16 schools, around which traffic the problem existed. Under the scheme, about 200 metres around schools are no-stoppage zones and children should be provided with transport by the management for which they could use BMTC buses.

When the scheme was introduced, parents had agreed to ‘no stoppage zone’ but objected to sending children by BMTC buses. Besides, most of these schools provide transportation for the children. Baldwin Boys High School has seven buses operating from different routes in the city.

Principal of Baldwin Boy High School Dinakar Wilson said: "When the scheme was introduced, we tried to convince parents about using BMTC buses but received a poor response."

Principal of St Ann’s High School T Balakrishna said: "Parents felt the behaviour of BMTC drivers and conductors was not good. Moreover, the school bus will pick up and drop children safely."

Some schools allow cars inside the premises. In Bishop Cotton Boys School, cars are let in from one gate and the let out from another.

Former principal of the school A Ebenezer said schools do not allow cars inside after a certain time.

"As a result, parents stop the car outside the school for a few minutes. This is enough to create traffic jams," he said.

DCP Traffic (East) M A Saleem said the purpose of the scheme was to make children use mass transport, including school buses, vans and BMTC buses.

"We have trained drivers of school-owned buses and vans. Nearly 145 drivers took part in this training programme. By July 1, we are planning to complete the training for 210 BMTC drivers hired by the schools," he said.

"Effective traffic management and educating parents is the solution," added Ebenezer.


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