The disappearing charm

Chaotic Sidewalks

The disappearing charm

Malleswaram still rings in memories for any Bangalorean. But a drive through the locality's two lifelines, Sampige Road and Margosa Road, is enough to erase any nostalgia. Chic shopping stretches, old markets, swanky apartments and old bungalows lie cheek by jowl in Malleswaram.

 The metamorphosis has had its spinoffs. Traffic crawls on most of the tree-lined roads. Parking is a perennial problem and pedestrians are forced do a tight-rope walk. It was proposed a while ago that the Malleswaram market would be revamped and space would be provided for all the vendors but that has not happened. Flower-sellers spread their wares on the pavement encroaching almost half of it and leaving little or no space for the pedestrians to move around. 

Subramaniah Naidu, who owns a vegetable stall in the market, says, “People can’t move around freely on the pedestrian paths due to encroachments and vendors are allowed to remain there by the traffic police because they are bribed on a regular basis,” he states. 

Most of the pavements in Malleswaram, whether on the 18th Cross, near the market or in the residential areas, have been conveniently converted into makeshift parking lots, thus inconveniencing a large numbers of pedestrians and people in the neighbourhood. This is mainly due to the growth of commercialestablishments in residential localities. 

The residents complain that they have to not only battle with disappearing pedestrians walkways but even the roads that have been narrowed due to random parking. 

Venkatesh, who own a restaurant in Malleswaram, says that there are two wheelers which park right in front of the gate of his house.  “It is difficult for us to open the gate and go out. These two-wheelers are not taken out till late at night. I have complained to the traffic police but they haven’t bothered to attend to the problem,” he reasons. 

Narasimha Murthy, a senior citizen, says that he dreads  walking on the pavements. “Not only is there no space for pedestrians but the encroachments, both by vendors and the commercial establishments, is a botheration. Both the BBMP and traffic police seem to shut their eyes to this problem,” he reasons.     

The BBMP doesn’t have a clear-cut policy when it comes to ensuring equal space to both street vendors and pedestrians.  

M Lakshminarayana, commissioner, BBMP, says, “We are not evicting, dislocating or causing any harm to street vendors. We are only regulating them to make sure they don’t eat into pedestrian space. I will inspect the Malleswaram market and look into the matter at the earliest. The traffic police must also look into the matter and ensure that the vendors are given an alternate space.” 

He further states that street vendors must be provided at least 50 per cent space on pavements. 

“The present arrangement seems alright although pedestrians are forced to negotiate their way on pavements,” he adds. He also concedes that constricting pedestrian paths is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

Additional commission of police (traffic) B Dayananda confesses that he didn’t know of the parking problems in Malleswaram. 

“I am not aware of people parking haphazardly in Malleswarm. Parking is an issue in the City and needs a larger workable plan. With the Metro Rail, handling parking and movement of traffic in Malleswaram has become a challenge,”she signs off 

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