School cabs and vans parked outside schools, footpaths occupied by street vendors, students on bicycles and two-wheeler riders trying to squeeze in between four-wheelers… All this even as hapless students and parents are trying to cross the road outside schools.

This is a common sight in the afternoon around Coles Park where 12 schools have almost similar timings. Introduction of staggered timings should be a lasting solution to the problem and this calls for a meeting of the heads of the schools. Most schools begin between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and end between 2.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. This usually results in traffic snarls, causing inconvenience to both pedestrians and motorists.

Students and parents complain that the traffic police personnel, who are expected to be stationed at Coles Park circle, are absent most often. Most school managements have employed their security or support staff to ensure that children reach their vans or buses safely. However, students say that this does not always help.

Nine-year-old Manikantan Shivaraj, student of a school near Coles Park who has to deal with speeding motorists, said, “I have to walk to the bus stand. Sometimes older students help me, but if they are not there, I am sacred to cross the road, as vehicles do not stop even if they see children crossing.”

Cab drivers, who ferry children to and from schools, suggest ensuring that traffic police personnel are present to help in traffic management. Suresh Babu, a cab driver, said that diverting traffic away from roads where there is a cluster of schools could help. “Most schools end around the same time. There is merely a difference of 15 to 20 minutes in the timings of some schools. School managements also need to co-ordinate and fix a schedule so that it would be convenient for motorists as well pedestrians,” he said.

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