It’s a techie life Techies bemoan the increasingly clogged main roads leading to Technopark
The bypass to the city, from Chakka Junction to Technopark, is 11 km, give or take a few km. Ideally, the travel time is 20 minutes, barring, of course, traffic, pot holes, ubiquitous road works and traffic signals that don’t work. Similarly, the main road from Kesavadasapuram to Technopark via Ulloor and Sreekariyam is also around 10 km, with an ideal running time of 20 minutes. However, many techies who travel these routes to and from work say that increasingly it’s getting more difficult to get to Technopark on time, especially during peak hours – between 8.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Quite worrying a trend, it seems, for a city where techies often move to, to escape the rush hour logjams of the metros.
“Nowadays, I often spend upwards of an hour travelling to work, a main chunk of the time on the bypass,” says techie Jyothy Das, who has been driving to Technopark from Kowdiar for the past several years, echoing the plight of many others. Manju B.S., a senior executive at a multi-national company, who has been working at Technopark for the last 14 years adds: “It has been like this on the bypass for a couple of years now. Earlier, it used to take less than 30 minutes to get from Vellayambalam all the way to Technopark even in peak hour. Before the bypass was completed many of us used to take the smaller parallel road that runs beside the Amazhinjam canal. Even that was an easy ride compared to now!”
They’ve identified a couple of bottlenecks on the bypass road. The main one, they say, is outside the Infosys campus. “Parking cars on both sides of the road near Infosys campus is one of the major causes of the roadblock here, which effectively leaves space for two lanes. Add to that the many smart alecks who cut in to the main lane because there are no dividers on the stretch and you have a never ending jam. Also, private security personnel, who are not experts in traffic management, regulate traffic here and that too often irrationally, giving priority to vehicles who want to enter the campus,” says Vijay Yohanan, an IT manager with an MNC. Adds Manju: “A couple of weeks ago a container lorry turning into the campus caused a huge block. I got to office only at 12 noon when I should have been there by 10.30 a.m.!” Apparently, pedestrian traffic too is affected here because of the parked cars. On the stretch there is another, smaller bottleneck at the Kulathoor Bridge. “Here, because the four-lane road suddenly becomes smaller, we often face a 10 to 15-minute block,” says Vijay. Then there is the turning to Technopark. Here there are traffic lights that help ease the jam. But it is still a melee during peak hours, especially when vehicles have to be stopped at Technopark main gates for security checks.
On other approach road, meanwhile, the bottlenecks are at Ulloor and Sreekariyam and on a smaller scale at Pongumoodu junction. “Sreekariyam is the worst and it often takes half an hour just to cross the junction. During peak hour buses proceeding towards Loyola school and College of Engineering, Trivandrum, add to the block,” says Ancy Samuel, a techie who lives in Kowdiar and who has been taking the route for the past five years.
Techies worry that in the coming years it’s only going to get worse. “While the number of cars is increasing geometrically, the roads are not even being widened arithmetically!” says Ancy. Adds Jyothy: “UST Global’s campus is coming up next to Infosys. It’s said that it can accommodate 8,000 employees. That means more or less the same number of vehicles! I shudder to think of the logjams when that happens…”
Because of the traffic hassles on these routes most of them seem to have figured out alternate, often circuitous, routes via side roads. Ancy, for example, now takes the Parottukonam-Vayalikada-Kariyavattom route to avoid Sreekariyam. Jyothy, meanwhile, has figured out a cut road that turns off from the bypass near Kulathoor. “Once you get on the bypass, it’s almost like you are stuck. Side roads are handy but often full of potholes and not easily drivable for smaller vehicles,” says Jyothy.
The techies suggest a few solutions that can help a smooth ride
Traffic signals by the Infosys campus
Traffic police presence there during peak hours
Dividers throughout approach roads
Regulating movement of heavy vehicles during peak hours
On bypass road
Outside Infosys campus
Technopark main gate
On Sreekariyam road