Six big schools plus one neighbourhood equals to a vexatious traffic problem. Liffy Thomas reports from Gandhi Nagar
Gandhi Nagar Fourth Main Road, Adyar, near Bala Vidya Mandir School. It is made one-way during peak hours – even then, the stretch poses a challenge to traffic regulators. It is 3.10 p.m. and the road teems with students, their parents, and haphazardly parked private vans, motorcycles and cars. Incessant honking from motorists trying to get out of this mess rends the air.
At least six educational institutions are located in Gandhi Nagar and this stretch is among those bearing the brunt of the congestion caused by school-going traffic.
These schools have staggered their timings, but that has not helped much.
With a view to resolving this vexatious issue, each of the schools has come up with separate strategies. For instance, St. Michael's Academy Matriculation Higher Secondary is carrying out a count of the vehicles (private vans, school-owned vans and cars) entering the area to see where the problem lies. “We already have active participation from parents, who pitch in by regulating the flow of traffic in the morning,” says the school’s principal, Johnson Rex Dhanabal.
Kumarrani Meena Muthiah Higher Secondary School encourages its students to cycle to school. At Bala Vidya Mandir, if a particular chauffeur does not abide by traffic rules, the parent is pulled up.
In the past, the Federation of Adyar Residents’ Association made a representation to school managements to regulate traffic outside their campuses. “One of our fervent pleas to these schools is: do not allow two-lane parking, which becomes inconvenient for residents in the area,” says C. Ramakrishnan, secretary of the Federation. School managements say they have Road Safety Patrol (RSP) programmes. Does that help? R. Narayanan, an RSP faculty with the Tamil Nadu Traffic Police Wardens Organisation, says in some schools, a minimum of 100 students are enrolled in the RSP programme, but they regulate traffic only on a few days.
“RSP members need to come 15-20 minutes before the school starts and a teacher must be with them if they are posted on traffic work. In many cases, the teacher does not turn up,” he says.
“Schools must give RSP students and teachers some incentive. If they don’t, the programme will not be successful.”