After Masi streets, more one-way traffic regulations in the heart of the city on the pipeline

Vehicular traffic flow on major portions of the Masi streets has improved after the city police introduced one-way traffic on those streets. A week after its introduction, a section of traders on the South Masi Street is opposing the one-way system, claiming that it is affecting their business.

The city police announced that the clockwise one-way traffic on the Masi streets will be made a permanent feature from July 3 “following overwhelming response from the public” and media during the two-day trial conducted on July 1 and 2. The police say the one-way system is aimed at decongesting the heavy traffic flow on the Masi streets, taking into consideration the rising number of vehicles hitting the road.

However, the traders of South Masi Streets think otherwise. “The one-way traffic system prevents access to South Masi Street from Periyar bus stand. We have lost our customers. Our business has seen a sharp decline in the past one week,” says A. Gulam, a wholesale dealer of mattresses and pillows. “Instead of introducing the one-way system, the police should have banned entry of heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses into the Masi streets and allowed two-wheelers, autorickshaws and light motor vehicles,” he says.

Reaction from road users on the issue is wide-ranging. Some feel the move has decongested the Masi streets, while others say it adds to the fuel bill. A. Palpandian, a security guard in a jewellery shop in West Masi Street says the flow of traffic has improved. Now there is more parking space for four-wheelers, he says. Karthikeyan, a photographer, echoes his words: “Two-wheeler riders find it easier to manoeuvre through the by-lanes and lanes to reach their destinations,” he says.

Gurusamy, an autorickshaw driver of Goods Shed Street says, “I find no fault with the new one-way traffic system.”

However, K. Pandi, a tricycle rider, is a frustrated lot. He finds it very difficult to deliver goods as he has to go around the Masi streets, if his destination is on the anti-clockwise direction.

G. Dhanasekaran, an autorickshaw driver in West Masi Street says people no longer prefer auto-rickshaw for short-distance travel on the anti-clockwise direction on the Masi streets as they are not ready to pay extra to cover the additional distance owing to the one-way traffic.

For a two-wheeler rider Sathish Yogesh, the new system has not made any difference in the flow of traffic. For him the old system was better. He wants the police to streamline parking of vehicles on Town Hall Road and its vicinity.

Sub-Inspector of Police (traffic) S. Balakrishnan says people may find it difficult till they are used to the new system and get to know the short-cut routes. He says additional signboards, planned to be put up by the police, will be of help to motorists.

Solution in hand

A city police officer concurs with the objections from people. He says the traffic police should have gone ahead with their original plan of simultaneously introducing one-way traffic on the Aavani Moola streets, which run parallel to the Masi streets, in the anti-clock direction. “There are many approach roads, lanes and by-lanes connecting the Masi streets with Aavani Moola streets. If the one-way traffic flow on these roads is on the opposite directions to each other, it will help road-users in cutting short the additional distance to be covered for circumventing the one-way traffic route,” he says.

He points out to the success of one-way traffic introduced on the stretches of Alagarkoil Road and Gokhale Road between Tamukkam and Ambedkar statue junction a year back.

“Five inter-connecting roads provide shorter route to road users on both these roads,” he says.

At present, two-way traffic is allowed on West and North Aavani Moola streets. While one-way traffic is strictly maintained on the East Aavani Moola Street, two-way traffic is allowed on South Aavani Moola Street with restrictions on four-wheelers on the anti-clockwise direction.

However, haphazard parking, double parking and parking of two-wheelers on the platforms lead to congestion in South Aavani Moola Street. “Each jewellery shop on this street has many brokers to bring in customers. And every one of them parks his two-wheeler on this road. By the time the shops are opened, the road is chock-a-block with two-wheelers, even before the first customer arrives for the day,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) K. Magudapathy says.

Same is the situation in North Aavani Moola Street where cars are parked on both sides of the road for most part of the day.

Better regulation of parking areas and stricter implementation of rules will provide more carriage space even on narrow roads, he says.

Mr. Magudapathy says the police are waiting for the road users to get used to the one-way traffic on Masi streets. “We are observing the traffic flow and studying the options to fine-tune the system before implementing the second phase of one-way traffic — in Aavani Moola Streets,” he says.

(With inputs from Francis Harry Roy)

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