Space management to address parking problem, a tough job

Vehicles tightly parked near Vilakkuthoon on East Masi Street in Madurai.

Vehicles tightly parked near Vilakkuthoon on East Masi Street in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy


City traffic police have devised plans to regulate parking spaces during Deepavali. As the festival falls on a weekend this time, it will be more challenging, say police


Deepavali is round the corner and there is already much rush on city roads. Every year, during the few days leading to the festival, the city’s core area witnesses a huge influx of shoppers, traders and hawkers. Vehicles, including two-wheelers, cars, rickshaws, tricycles and autorickshaws, fight for space in narrow lanes and streets, as swelling crowds throng the city.

This year, Deepavali falls on a Sunday, making it even more challenging for traffic police not just in regulating free flow of vehicles but also in ensuring ample parking spaces for vehicles. Parking spaces in Madurai have literally been non-existent unlike in other cities where designated parking spaces are available. Madurai is characterised by a peculiar parking problem, as a portion of most streets is used or earmarked for parking. It often eats into the carriageway.

Regulation of space

K. Sugumaran, Deputy Commissioner (Traffic), says, “This is a city where both residential and commercial areas co-exist, unlike in other bigger cities like Chennai and Coimbatore. This complicates parking issues.”

People, who live in the bylanes of the city’s core area, park their vehicles on main roads like the Masi and Marret streets. This leaves little space for other vehicles that come to the core area, he adds.

“But steps have been taken to regulate haphazard parking of two-wheelers by way of restricting double parking and fixing yellow ropes along roadsides. We also have tentative plans for making it paid parking for residents in the central area. We hope it will deter them from permanently using road space as parking space,” he says.

Currently, the police have earmarked parking spaces for cars on the Masi streets. A stretch from Maravar Chavadi to Manjanakkara Street on South Masi Street has been allocated for car parking, where about 30 vehicles can be parked. Similarly, the space near TM Court on West Masi Street has been allocated for car parking.

“As East Masi Street is full of grocery godowns and wholesale shops, we have not allowed car parking there. Likewise, North Masi Street is used by trucks for unloading fruits and vegetables and hence car parking is a problem there as well,” says Joseph Nixon, Assistant Commissioner (Traffic), Town range.

Deepavali rush

During Deepavali, the traffic police have planned to restrict car parking to the Veli streets, so that congested Masi and Marret streets will have some space for people to move around. Vilakkuthoon area and South Masi Street, with large textile and jewellery showrooms, witness a heavy rush of shoppers during the festival.

He says trucks will be prohibited from entering the city from October 24, as traffic will peak from on Friday and Saturday preceding Deepavali. The police have also identified vast spaces that can be used as car parking slots during the festival season.

Tentatively, the police have planned to allocate The Madura College ground for cars coming in from the southern suburbs, Sethupathi School ground for cars entering the city through Madurai Coats bridge, St. Mary’s School ground and Sourashtra Boys School ground for cars coming from the east and Vaigai south bank along Pechiamman Padithurai and Yanaikkal for cars coming from the north.

An added problem this year is that Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple parking space on North Avani Moola Street is unavailable due to the ongoing construction work for a multi-level car parking. Similarly, West Veli Street and Tiruparankundram Road also cannot be used for parking, due to the construction activity in progress at Periyar bus stand.

Multi-level car parking

However, the shifting of the wholesale fruit market from Simmakkal has helped in easing congestion, says Mr. Nixon. “To reduce burden on West Veli Street and ensure free flow of traffic, we have made the stretch from Mayor Muthu Bridge landing to Periyar bus stand as a no-parking zone. No autos, cars or buses are allowed to stop there and pick up passengers or park,” he adds.

Though multi-level car parking facilities may take time for completion, it is expected to be a solution to parking problems in Madurai. Periyar bus stand complex is said to include parking space for over 4,865 bikes and 371 cars.

“More such facilities should be developed in various important junctions. Multi-level car parks are the answer to space crunch,” says Shivraj Jain, who owns a shop on West Masi Street.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:29:12 PM |

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