Effected on Alagarkoil Road-Ghokhale Road recently

About 10 days ago, the city traffic police had introduced certain changes in vehicle flow along the arterial Alagarkoil Road-Ghokhale Road stretches on an experimental basis.

Like a coin has two sides, there is mixed opinion from road users – welcoming and opposing the move.

While a majority of the motorists have welcomed the ‘change’ as, according to them, vehicles keep moving in the new arrangement, which was not the case earlier. Some others have opposed it stating that the so called ‘change’ had not improved the situation, but rather complicated the traffic system.

Speaking to The Hindu, merchants and hoteliers in the locality said that their business had dipped after the change was effected by at least 10 to 25 per cent, but admitted that the traffic congestion is no more, which used to be felt, irrespective of peak hour and non-peak hour, they claimed.

A staff, Mani, working in a consumer outlet opposite Karuppanasami Temple, said that the idea of one-way is welcome, but the authorities should make provisions for pedestrian crossing by laying either speed breakers at couple of places or deploying police at two-three points or install signals (30 seconds stop and go to enable crossing) on the stretch as motorists drive at a great speed.

Orderliness

There is some orderliness in the flow of vehicles now, feels businessman M.S. Rajan in Chinna Chokkikulam. Initially, when the system was introduced, there was confusion as people did not know which road to take, but now things appear to have settled. He suggested removal of small encroachments on the by-lanes sandwiched between Alagarkoil Road and Ghokhale Road, so that the stretches could be put to use better.

The police should display big signboards about the direction on which side is allowed and which side it is no entry. No vehicle should be permitted for parking in the by-lanes.

The Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation (TNSTC) officials said that their crew are satisfied with the new arrangement. The bus stops have not been changed or removed. Instead of Alagarkoil Road, it is in Ghokale Road and vice versa. The police should prune the traffic island opposite the Le Chatelier School as sometimes, the bus drivers and other motorists find it tough to negotiate at the point.

Some of the residents in Ghokale Road, surrounding pockets and those residing in Lajapati Roy Road felt that the police could revert to the old system as there was congestion experienced during peak hour traffic near Vishaal de Mall and in front of Home Guards — Lakshmi Sundaram Hall side. Whenever any big marriages are performed, the vehicles may occupy the roads thus shrinking the carriage space.

Huge rush

Similarly, there is huge rush near the mall on weekends as motorists park their vehicles on the roadsides. The Ghokale Road is filled with small and medium sized commercial buildings, where parking for four-wheelers is tough now, a doctor having his clinic said.

A police officer suggested that the Corporation could examine modalities of letting out a portion of Tamukkum Grounds for parking vehicles. If this works, business men could offer valet parking to shoppers visiting their outlets/showrooms.

The roads would also be free from congestion.

The residents and some shopkeepers in Tallakulam, however, had a different experience to share with. The parking of vehicles in front of some of the hotels/restaurants on the Alagarkoil Road led to traffic jam during afternoons and night time earlier. This is no more experienced now as the stretch is one-way and hence, welcomed the police to continue with the new arrangement.

However, they wanted some police to be deployed in front of the Tallakulam Prasanna Venkatachalapathi Temple for stopping vehicles which would enable pedestrians, particularly, school students and elders to cross the road.

Over a decade ago, when the then Commissioner of Police R. Sekar made similar one-way changes in Simakkal-Yanaikkal stretches and a few other pockets, there was hue and cry to the move. Many road side vendors opposed. Residents in the locality also raised objections then.

But, with the rise in number of vehicles, one cannot imagine a two-way traffic in these roads any more, Saktivel on Vakkil New Street said.

With times changing, it would be ideal for motorists’ to adapt to changes rather than opposing it tooth and nail.

Proper planning for shoppers would avoid confusion, said L. Murali Krishnan, a businessman who has his outlets in the Vishaal de Mall on Ghokale Road.

Traffic police officers have said that they would assess the merits and demerits on the stretch and take a final call in larger public interest. With growing vehicle population, more and more one-ways seem to be the only way, they said .

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