The chaos persists...

The chaos persists...

Fading Glory

The chaos persists...

With several malls springing up in the City, Commercial Street is slowly losing its charm. Visiting the place has turned into a nightmare for many Bangaloreans as the parking facilities in and around the area are limited. Added to that, the passengers are being fleeced by the auto drivers here.

 Adding to these woes is the increasing number of vehicles on the narrow bylanes of the Street. Although Commercial Street is the favourite haunt of many people, who love to shop for trinkets and cheap items and have delicious food, a visit to the area has become exasperating. For instance, Narayan Pillai Street, one of the bylanes in Commercial Street, is chock-a-block, particularly during weekends.

There are four-wheelers and two-wheelers, many traversing in the wrong direction, coupled with window shoppers and people savouring food from eateries on roads without sidewalks.

Vijayalakshmi M, a frequent shopper on Gollar Street or Anand Sweets’ Lane, as it is popularly known as, says, “The best of the items are available in the bylanes of Commercial Street. Looking through items on the roadside takes time and I constantly worry that I will be knocked down by two-wheelers. That’s why I’ve chosen to keep away from the place. In fact, some of the lanes also allow two-wheeler parking.”

It’s a dangerous situation for pedestrians and shoppers, who are likely to be hit by the vehicles. V Vishal, who works at a garment store on Narayan Pillai Street and sees the chaos everyday, says, “It’s a scary situation. It’s almost impossible to park on Commercial Street in the evenings. Added to that, people who want to drop off items at the stores, park their vehicles here at times. Although it’s for a fleeting moment, that’s enough to cause much congestion.”

He adds, “It’s a common sight to find two-wheeler riders going the wrong way on these narrow roads. They use these roads as a short-cut. Accidents too happen here. The need of the hour is restricting vehicles on the narrow lanes.”

But there are some who have resigned to this state of affairs.
The indifference of the police and the people is the reason for this chaos, says Kurshid Ahmed, an antiques’ store owner, on Commercial Street. “This has been the situation over the years and there has been an increase in the number of people crowding in these lanes. But when the people and police are not interested in making a change, there’s nothing that can be done,” he sighs.

So, is there a solution in sight? “The problem is that shopkeepers on the bylanes have encroached upon the roads. Hence, the pedestrians walk on the middle of the road and vehicles have to slow down. Although the corporation keeps asking the shopkeepers to clear off the footpath, the situation continues two days later,” explains Ajay, who is part of the Commercial Street Association.

Head constable of Commercial Street area, H Gopalkrishna, says that it’s become impossible to manage the rush in and around Commercial Street. “There aren’t enough policemen to man the area and motorists take advantage of that. For instance, although large vehicles are not allowed on the lanes of Commercial Street, sometimes, with police not on the spot, one can spot big cars,” he says.

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