Friday, September 03, 2010

This is more a parking lot than road

This is more a parking lot than road

When a protest in front of Town Hall blocks JC Road, MTB Road has to bear the pain. Crammed with parked vehicles and car accessory shops and trucks heading to Kalasipalya vegetable market, the road needs to be widened to escape chaos, say some. Others disagree and blame it on the 'parking mafia'

Shilpa CB

Mavalli Tank Bund Road or MTB Road does not have much going for it. Sandwiched between the manic JC Road, which is clogged most hours of the day, and a residential area, it has to cater to the demands of both. Widening the road will benefit everyone using the stretch, some believe. Others insist that it is already a broad stretch but has been reduced to a polluted and crammed one by the many businesses that abuse it. Any work on this one-way street should be complemented by efforts to make it more pedestrian-and traffic-friendly, they say.
The entire area has been turned into one big parking lot, complain residents of Thayappa Layout, Journalists' Colony, Rajgopal Garden, Amit Khan Garden, the localities that surround MTB Road. Numerous car accessory shops use the space for their business. Obviously, this does get in the way of traffic that enters from Lalbagh Fort Road and moves towards AM Road and Kalasipalya.
"This is a transport area. Most trucks that enter the city have to use this route to reach the vegetable market at Kalasipalya as they are not allowed on JC Road. Although these heavy vehicles are restricted after morning hours, it is not unusual to see them even at noon," says B Prabhakar, a businessman.
Residents say that a 'parking mafia' is the trouble-maker here. Although there are no-parking boards in the three crosses of the adjacent Journalists' Colony, cars are lined up on both sides of the road.
"Double-parking, even triple-parking is common," complains Banashankari Mohan, an employee at an establishment here.
The traffic police's apathy has aggravated the problem, commuters say. This has affected the contractors who manage the multi-level parking lot on JC Road.
"The matter has been in the court for the last five years. The contractors are demanding that the area be made a no-parking zone so that drivers are forced to use that space," a resident says.
This is in the interest of all road users who are forced to turn into these streets when JC Road is blocked; the blockage is especially severe when there is a protest or dharna in front of Town Hall. Given its location, it is crucial that the menace of illegal parking and violation of the one-way rule be checked.
Taken together, these measures will help solve traffic woes, says Ramesh V Naidu, a businessman. "I don't think that widening will help as the nature of businesses done here and the manner in which they are done are hindering traffic movement. Merely increasing the width of the road won't make much of a difference as that will again be used for illegal parking," says a resident who may lose about 15ft of land on which his three-storey building stands. Those employed in the commercial establishments fear that widening will drive them out of the city. "It will be difficult to transport the items they fabricate into the city. It will drive up the cost," says Shivanand R, an employee at a steel works establishment.
Muthurkrishnan V, a tenant who deals in old tyres, points out that widening has been planned for a long time. "They've covered the drain and done it on the right side. Widening on the left side has been pending. I have been hearing it will be done, for years now," he says.
If the BBMP goes ahead with the plan, it will have to compensate those losing property, says Naidu. "All governments have been giving compensation in exchange for land. That is the norm. There is no other way," counters Prabhakar, a local man.
He is among the few residents who continue to live here despite the commercialisation that has taken away many comforts. While the residents demand cleaner roads and regular garbage collection, those working in the shops say that doing business here will be easier if stagnant water after rains is drained off and the drains and footpaths are maintained well.


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