Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just clean up this stretch

Just clean up this stretch

No need to further widen Siddaiah Road, say residents and traders

Shilpa CB

For passers-by, Siddaiah Road is an eye sore. Their grouse is not over its width but over the mounting filth. It needs a bit of cleaning and beautification, local residents and traders say.
To drive home the point, they draw our attention to the bus shelter here which has become a spot for garbage accumulation. Despite that, the civic body has earmarked the stretch for widening. All the problems that persist have just been ignored. That's precisely what plagues city planning, says car battery shop owner Kishan Mittal.
"The Metro is going to be a flop because it won't address people's needs. Similarly, roads that need widening should be taken up. But this stretch doesn't need it as it is already quite broad," he says.
"Corrupt ministers are like termites eating into the country's resources while people watch helplessly", he says.
Neighbour Vijay Kumar agrees. "First, this place needs cleaning. That would solve the traffic issues," he says.
The width of the road is uneven. Some parts are so broad that vehicles can be parked in two lines. Kumar says he has heard that judges travelling to the new civil court that has come up at the end of the road have been demanding a double road for their convenience. But is road widening the solution, wonders Kumar who runs a 50-year-old business.
Others have specific complaints. Widening the road won't tackle these issues. "MTR's (restaurant) customers are a big menace here. They park their vehicles haphazardly and disappear for a couple of hours. Obviously, traffic becomes a mess here," says Akram MD, who runs a private business along the road.
He too parks his two-wheeler on the footpath as there is no alternative. Popular eating joints not providing parking space for customers are disturbing traffic in other places of the city as well, he says. Could that be looked into rather than the width of the road, he asks.
News of the civic body's plans to widen the road is not new. Residents have been hearing it for decades. In fact, only a few days ago, the traffic police made a surprise visit here and began taking away the items piled up on the footpath and the roadside.
"We have been expecting it to happen since 1972. About 15 days ago, I heard it again," says Syed Omar, a dealer of old motor parts.
It is this expectation that has encouraged businessmen here to be prepared for such eventuality. "A few have even set up a line of shops at the back of the lane near the road. So if any demolitions take place, they can immediately start operating from there," he says.
However, unlike these traders, the authorities are far from prepared for such projects. Shocking pedestrians, they have set up a new toilet on the footpath at the entrance of this road.
Traffic congestion on this stretch is linked to a used auto parts market which draws customers from far and wide. "Buying new spare parts is expensive. Most vehicle owners prefer used ones as they are cost-effective and serve the purpose too," says a trader.
It is not just the city's lorry driver or bus driver who relies on this market for timely help with spare parts. Vehicle owners from all over the state patronise this market. "We have customers coming in from Chitradurga, Hassan, Mangalore, Hubli, Dharwad, and Shimoga. They come here knowing there is a huge market and they will surely find whatever they need. If we go, their business will be affected too," says M Uttam Kumar, a trader.
Increasing the width of the road won't make much of a difference as the spare parts trade will continue on this road and commuters will still be inconvenienced. Also, vehicles from the numerous crosses will also hinder traffic flow.
The solution is to move the market away to a location that would be convenient for traders and their customers, the traders' associations feel. They all agree that the immediate need is to clean up the area along the Siddaiah Road to make it more traffic- and pedestrian-friendly. b_shilpa@dnaindia.nethelp pedestrians: The area on either side of Siddaiah Road must be cleaned up to make it more traffic- and pedestrian-friendly


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