Where's the space to walk?

Where's the space to walk?
Everyday, the narrow road and bylanes of Commercial Street are witness to thousands of people, who are either shopping, selling goods or just passing by. Hence, a number of vehicles of all shapes and sizes are parked haphazardly on these roads.

This makes it extremely difficult for pedestrians and shoppers to walk and they are forced to worm their way through both human and vehicular traffic.  “The roads are so narrow in the first place. I really don’t understand what vehicle owners are thinking when they park their four wheelers on these streets,” exclaims Rajat, a frequent visitor to Commercial Street. Another regular shopper here, Sridhar says, “People park their cars and bikes wherever they find a spot without thinking that it is eating up almost half the space. This creates a problem for those who are walking.”

It is all the more problematic in the inner lanes. The condition worsens during the weekends with more and more people coming in. Even the shopkeepers have to bear the brunt of it. “Customers do not come to our shop because people park their vehicles right in front and block the view,” laments Samir, a shopkeeper. “We have seen the traffic police towing many vehicles on a daily basis but this does not help people understand the depth of the problem,” he adds. 

As if parking their vehicles haphazardly wasn’t enough, people also stop their cars in the middle of the road to shop, blocking the way for other vehicles. One can also witness big SUVs, numerous autos and bikes speeding through the lanes. Many are of the opinion that shopping areas like Commercial Street should be confined to just pedestrians, especially the bylanes that surround the main road. Rajarshi Bhattacharjee, another regular here, says, “The roads are already narrow and become narrower thanks to these cars. In fact, many of the shops have extended themselves onto the roads.” 

Though the main road of Commercial Street has fixed parking spots and people are employed to check if the cars are parked in the space provided, most shoppers are of the opinion that the traffic police must tighten the existing rules and punish the offenders.

“Though they do fine vehicles that aren’t parked properly, as soon as they leave, two more vehicles are parked in the same way in the same place,” complains Afsal, a fruit-seller. Many a time, pedestrians even end up pushing each other. “While one side of the road is full of street vendors, the other side is full of cars and bikes. So basically, there is no place for the pedestrian to walk and people usually end up pushing each other to get onto the footpath,” says Binny Abraham, another regular shopper.

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