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Traffic chaos erupts at Phoenix Mall opening on Ballari Road

Concerns are mounting that this traffic nightmare could become a recurring weekend ordeal.
Last Updated : 30 October 2023, 23:43 IST

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The opening of Phoenix Mall of Asia on Ballari Road caused a severe traffic gridlock on Sunday evening, leaving commuters and local residents along the airport road stranded for over an hour.

Concerns are mounting that this traffic nightmare could become a recurring weekend ordeal.

The mall, situated near the GKVK campus in Sabrinagar, debuted on October 28 and drew a substantial weekend crowd. This led to a complete standstill on the service road connecting to the mall entrance, with numerous commuters reporting hour-long delays in entering or exiting the premises.

Surjo from Malleswaram said it took his family an agonising hour-and-a-half to cover the 2.5-km distance from Hebbal to the mall, ultimately arriving at 8 pm.

“The mall had poor parking facilities,” he told DH. “There was nobody to guide the cars in the basement parking. All the security guards were at the main entrance. Cars were stuck on the downward ramp for more than 15 minutes.”

Local traffic authorities were unable to manage the surging traffic on the road, fearing interference with the primary airport-bound route.

“Mall visitors aside, residents of Kodigehalli, Sahakarnagar, and Hebbal were affected by the jam at the service road, leading to frustration and road rage incidents,” said a traffic policeman who was on duty. He said if unresolved, the traffic congestion might extend as far as Mehkri Circle and Yelahanka junction.

The mall has both its entry and exit points on the service road, which worsens the traffic situation. Although the mall authorities project a weekend footfall of 50,000 to 60,000, they have parking for only about 3,400 vehicles.

A senior traffic official pointed at the service road’s insufficient capacity to accommodate a large crowd. “This is the only connecting road to the mall. BBMP authorities have not conducted a traffic impact assessment and the builders have not heeded to any of our suggestions to reduce traffic load on the service road. What is the solution then?” he wondered.

Urbanist Ashwin Mahesh deemed this issue avoidable. “How do you ensure that people enter and exit this large property seamlessly from all directions?” he asked.

“There is not a mindset to anticipate such an outcome. This is an avoidable problem with a procedure on paper, but not followed with competency or integrity.”

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Published 30 October 2023, 23:43 IST

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