Travails on road

Travails on road

The schools have reopened bringing along with it a harrowing time for motorists and pedestrians. Those travelling on Residency Road, St Mark’s Road and Hosur Road especially, say that they dread to drive, ride or walk past schools located in the Central Business District (CBD) between 2 pm and 4 pm.

Almost everyday, beginning from the morning peak hour, traffic religiously comes to a standstill on Hosur Road, which already has its share of potholes. A motorist has to meet a myriad of challenges only to reach their destination hours later. Meanwhile, less said the better, when it comes to St Mark’s Road. In short, for the common man, the battle with traffic just becomes bigger with every passing day. And no one is listening!

 “The government authorities seem indifferent to the problem,” observes Vivek Menon, an urban planner and head of the infrastructure subcommittee at CiSTUP, IISc. He points out that the TenderSURE work in the CBD areas could have been completed in the two-month vacation. “Residency Road and St Mark’s Road are arterial roads which have a lot of traffic. Most of the traffic blocks occur because the private vehicles that come to pick up children are parked along these roads blocking almost half the stretch,” he says. “The traffic police must work with the school management around this area to work out a plan. The private vehicles coming to pick up children can enter the school and leave without causing any inconvenience,” he adds.

Ask Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) M S Saleem whether there would ever be an answer for the constant pile-up and he says,  managing traffic around CBD areas has indeed become a challenge.

“The Bengaluru Traffic Police have identified 93 schools across the City where there are regular traffic blocks. We held a meeting with all the school principals and the Education Department in May this year wherein we instructed the school managements, especially around Residency Road and St Mark’s Road, to encourage parents and children to take public transport and opt for car-pooling. This will lessen the number of private vehicles during the rush hour,” he says.

David Saldanha, a businessman, who comes to St Mark’s Road to pick up his children, says he and parents like him must walk on the road as there is no footpath at all.

    “The authorities could have hastened the pace of work on these TenderSURE roads during the vacation but nothing has been done,” he shares. A few parents like Tina J, a housewife, is forced to park somewhere near Brigade Road to pick her son up from St Mark’s Road. “I have to leave home early just to find a parking space in the CBD area. My child and I have to walk back and we struggle to find a footpath,” wonders Tina.

Motorists like Aaron, who works on St Mark’s Road, say that they find it a tedious task to travel by this stretch because the vehicles just don’t seem to move. “I drive to work and it’s frustrating getting past Residency Road to St Mark’s Road. Not only is there more wear-and-tear on the vehicle, but there’s more fuel consumption also. It takes a toll on my health as well,” he states. Work and regular meetings bring Sucheta Shekar, an event management consultant, to the CBD area almost everyday and she says she is always battling traffic jams to get to her workplace or to meetings. “I usually get stuck at the wrong signal and everybody seems to be in a hurry. The pending road work projects are also causing a lot of delay. The solution to ease traffic is to complete these pending projects,” adds Sucheta.     

The motorists and pedestrians now dread stepping out of their homes for fear being stuck on these roads endlessly. Margaret, a retired teacher from Sophia High School, who lives on Lavelle Road, thinks twice before heading out of her house between 2 pm and 4 pm everyday.

 “It’s  hell out there on the main roads. School vans and buses park almost half way through the main roads and sometimes even on the footpath. That leaves pedestrians no way to walk and I usually end up walking on the main road,” she says. “We have no footpaths and there seems to be no hope,” she fumes.

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