It is a Saturday evening at the Phoenix Market City, and the bustle is inescapable. In-house traffic regulators are on their toes, their walkie-talkies crackling with hurried instructions. Stationed at the broad entrance, these men are directing two parallel streams of vehicular traffic, one moving into the mall and the other, moving out.

Their job primarily involves preventing vehicles from bunching up right outside the mall and causing a traffic jam on the Velachery Main Road.

But the odds are against them. The two-way movement of vehicles at the Phoenix gate proving too much for it, the road gets jammed in the evening hours, on Saturday and Sunday. A traffic cop says, “On these two days, the traffic becomes sluggish around 3.30 p.m. and gets steadily worse. Until 10 p.m., vehicles inch forward bumper-to-bumper. The movement of traffic towards Sardar Patel road is the slowest, partly because motorists try to take an unauthorized U-turn at Nehru Nagar, instead of going up to the Five Furlough Road.”

According to G. Karpagam, a resident of Gangai Nagar, the situation is likely to get worse when the one million sq.ft.mall, which is currently operating at half its capacity, becomes fully functional with the 11-screen cinema opening.

A traffic coordinator at Phoenix lists the remedial measures in place. “During the weekends, four-wheelers will exit the mall through a back gate that opens into Radha Mohan Street, which is connected to the Velachery Bypass Road.” This might surely ease traffic. But, given that the number of vehicles visiting the mall will rise and the Velachery Main Road is narrow at various points that are proximate to the mall, it is rose-tinted optimism to consider this, a decisive solution.

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