Opting for the easy way out

Traffic Congestion

Opting for the easy way out

If one is heading from Jayamahal Extension towards Mekhri Circle, be prepared to battle a dust storm caused by impatient motorists who refuse to wait for the signal to turn green.

The entire side road, which ought to be a footpath, has become a makeshift path to drive on, easing the perpetrator’s traffic woes by a few
metres at best.

This problem has been persistent for the past two years, says Pandi, who runs a chai stand near Mekhri Circle. “Since there is only one major signal here and the traffic is really bad at peak hours, people tend to use the makeshift path. There’s no dust coming into my shop because it’s at a reasonable distance but this situation has been the same for over two years. It poses a problem to pedestrians only in the evening or when a car breaks down and adds to the congestion,” notes Pandi.

One can see heaps of construction waste and mud dumped on the stretch, which one might mistake for road-laying activities. However, this is unfortunately not the case and no solution is in sight. Shanti, a construction worker, says, “My job is to take out the metal pieces from the mud piles. At the moment, we haven’t been told to lay the roads but levelling activities might happen too. We are only digging now as per instructions.”

According to authorities, there isn’t much that can be done to stop vehicles from using the easy way out. Ashok Kumar, traffic constable, RT Nagar limits, monitors this crossing and admits that it in fact, helps him manage traffic. “It creates space for a temporary bus stop and allows smoother traffic flow. There is a lot of dust, especially with the rubble and construction waste dumped there. But what can we do if no concrete is being laid by the corporation?” he asks.

“The best option is to convert it into an extension of the main road. This is too busy a route and two lanes aren’t enough!” adds Ashok, mentioning that no government body has come forward to do the same.

The situation gets worse at night, says Manjunath, a pedestrian who uses this makeshift bus stop on a daily basis.

“As a principle, I don’t care if people use the main road or the side road because at the end of the day, everybody wants to beat the traffic. But the problem is in the dust that is thrown up because of these vehicles. At night especially, it is almost blinding to walk down this road thanks to the pollution levels,” he states.

But the perpetrators themselves do not see any harm in doing what they do. “It’s a matter of choice — either you wait for 30 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic or reach closer to your destination during that time,” opines Raju, a two-wheeler rider using the shortcut.  

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