The name might have made sense a few years ago.
But today, calling one of the oldest and busiest business centres in the city Broadway is laughable as unauthorised parking has shrunk the road.
“It should be renamed narrow way,” remarked Joseph D’Silva, a member of the Broadway Shop Owners’ Association (BSOA) formed to find a solution to the commercial hub’s parking troubles.
Mr. D’Silva said two-wheelers parked in multiple rows on the left side of Broadway made life difficult for the public and traders alike. He said Broadway had become congested because employees of a shopping complex, sandwiched between Shanmugham Road and Broadway, parked their vehicles on the road.
“Employees of the shops in this trading complex have made Broadway the de facto parking space for their two-wheelers. This has cramped the 250-metre stretch of Broadway right from its entry point,” he said.
BSOA has lodged complaints with the City Police Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic, seeking a permanent solution to this problem.
P.A. Sageer, president, BSOA, warned that shop owners would be forced to resort to protests if authorities concerned failed to address the issue.
“The business in shops facing the illegal parking area has taken a severe beating. Our efforts to sort out the issue with owners of the shopping complex have proved futile,” he said.
K.S. Baby Vinod, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic West, said the police regulated parking at Broadway this festive season by deploying additional men and conducting bike patrol.
“The idea is to continue the arrangement and restrict parking to just one row and that too where space is available. Declaring Broadway a no-parking zone is the possible permanent solution. But it draws opposition from a section of traders,” he said.
In fact, the Ernakulam Merchants Union, now rechristened Kerala Merchants Union, along with the City Corporation had made Broadway a no-parking area a few years back. But that experiment fizzled out.
Gopal Shenoy, general secretary, Kerala Merchants’ Union, said the experiment facilitated smooth progress of trade along Broadway. However, the adjoining Cloth Bazaar Road and Market Road became clogged with parked vehicles and a section of traders there suffered.
Later a section of traders in Broadway allowed customers to park their two-wheelers while making purchases, but this led to customers parking their vehicles and cramping the road.
Mr. Shenoy said the police seemed to be considering the possibility of bringing back a parking ban in Broadway.
“In that case, we will ask for a similar ban on Cloth Bazaar Road and Market Road to avoid a repeat of the past,” he said.
Kerala Merchants’ Union is all set to hold a meeting with the police and BSOA to find a permanent solution to the parking woes of Broadway.