Partial ban on parking vehicles on Oppanakara Street

Driving on Oppanakara Street has been a different experience in the last two days – one had to use only the accelerator to move from one end of the street to the other.

This accelerator-only driving had been made possible by the Coimbatore City Police, which removed parking on the western side of the road to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

After discussions with the traders on Thursday, the police said neither shop owners nor their employees should park their vehicles. They should instead let the space for customers. And that the owners and employees could park their vehicles at concessional rates at the Coimbatore Corporation’s parking sites near Town Hall and off Oppanakara Street, said M. Bakthavathchalam, Assistant Commissioner, Traffic, Coimbatore West.

Initially, the police had proposed disallowing parking for customers’ vehicles as well but on the traders’ insistence they decided to let customers park their vehicles.

On Friday, though the road users and traffic policemen were a happy lot, the traders were not. A Sub Inspector on duty on Oppanakara Street said that managing the Lala Corner (Oppanakara Street – Raja Street junction) had become easy because even if two or three buses were to stop one behind another at the stop, the traffic on Oppanakara Street would not be affected. He was finding it easy to let the vehicles that proceed straight on the road.

On Saturday, however, the simmering unhappiness among the traders came to the fore with they blocking road at the Edayar Street junction. As the talks with the traders failed, the police removed over 70 traders. The Variety Hall Road police have reportedly registered a case against the traders.

Traders rue that business in the last two days had not been as usual. They say that while the police had agreed to let the customers park their vehicles, the same had not been communicated well to field level officers.

Suresh H. Dansinghani, owner, Bajrang Enterprises, and secretary, Oppanakara Street traders’ association, said, the police did not let the customers park their vehicles, and the traffic congestion on Edayar Street, R.G. Street and Sukhrawarpet had grown heavier because of the increase in number of vehicles parked.

“The police had simply shifted the problem away from Oppanakara street to the nearby streets.”

Mr. Bakthavathchalam said that the police planned to regulate parking on other important commercial streets in the area as well and added that this was not linked to Deepavali. Before proceeding, though, they would take into confidence the traders.

Commissioner of Police A.K. Viswanathan told reporters on Friday that on Oppanakara Street, Raja Street, Cross Cut Road and many others in the area, the traders and their employees had encroached upon parking space, making life difficult for customers.

Henceforth, the police would ensure that only customers parked their vehicles and that too only at spaces earmarked for the same. He also promised to clear encroachments in Race Course and its neighbourhood.

The police were initiating the action in association with the Coimbatore Corporation, he added.

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