Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shoppers stop! Jam ahead

Shoppers stop! Jam ahead
Deccan Herald

Bangalore shoppers’ favourite haunts — MG Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street — are fast losing their appeal, thanks to severe traffic congestion, lack of parking space and even, perhaps, walking space. What is the answer to this traffic mess? Can anything be done to improve the situation, or is it too late for damage control? Can solutions be found in one-ways or by introducing a change in the parking system or by running buses on these routes to encourage mass transit?

Deccan Herald sought these answers from those who matter - the “concerned” authorities. The stakeholders - Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Traffic Police and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation - were invited to brainstorm on the issue and generate solutions to end the traffic problem.

The Traffic Police was represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M A Saleem, BMTC by its Chief Traffic Manager Dastagir Sharief and BMP by Deputy Commissioner (Markets) Sreenivasaiah. The three officials, in an interaction with DH reporting team, thrashed out some issues, trashed others and attempted to create a solution-centric action plan.

However, at the end of the session, no single solution emerged. The root cause of all problems perhaps lies in not having a comprehensive plan for tracking traffic-related problems. Also, there is a lack of co-ordination among various agencies as far as planning is concerned.

For example, when reporters asked why so many multiplexes are coming up on these already choked roads, BMP said it was “helpless” as there is no legislation preventing such buildings from being given permission. The Traffic Police, meanwhile, rued that they were not consulted when massive public structures were given licences.

Mr Saleem pointed out that the traffic police were not consulted before the metered parking was introduced on Brigade Road. The MoU was signed between BMP and traders to install parking meters. Even if the police want to make Brigade Road a walking zone at least during the weekends, it is not possible now, he said.

Meanwhile, the BMTC rued that despite having a large fleet of buses, they cannot venture on these roads because of the ban on buses on these roads.

There is no scope for creating parking facility either by the government or the BMP as both do not own any vacant land in this area. A possible solution to the mounting parking problem is perhaps making use of Manekshaw Grounds, belonging to the Ministry of Defence, suggest both the BMP and the Traffic Police.

Mini buses

The bright spot perhaps lies in the solution provided by BMTC, which has offered to run mini buses to promote mass transit. For this, BMP has to provide parking space for buses on M G Road and the Traffic Police have to give their consent too. The three agencies were open-minded about the idea of allowing mini buses on these roads.


Bangalore’s central business district stares at imminent saturation, as shopper rush and traffic snarls redefine chaos on M G Road, Brigade Road, Kamaraj Road and Commercial Street. Starting today, Deccan Herald brings to you a series on the issues that plague the commercial hub of your City. Have your say. Send your views/suggestions to decongest these roads. Write in or email us at: Editor, Deccan Herald, 75 M G Road,Bangalore — 560 001


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