Grappling with shrinking roads, growing vehicle population

A pilgrim centre desperately searches for solutions, as residents make a full-throated cry for a new bus terminus

It is peak hour in the morning and there is a row of stranded vehicles caught in a traffic snarl vying with each other to overtake amid blaring horns and against heavy oncoming traffic.

A typical scene on any given day in Srirangam, where chaos reigns supreme causing huge discomfiture to travelling public in the mornings and evenings.

Attracting scores of devotees from all over the country throughout the year, the temple town lacks a full-fledged bus terminus. The existing bus stop, where city buses terminate, and its vicinity remain chock-a-block with heavy traffic for most part of the day.

A rapidly developing town that is witness to proliferation of residential localities over the years, Srirangam is struggling to cope with rising vehicular density. Unregulated parking of tourist buses, mini goods carriers and other vehicles along the busy Amma Mandapam Road, dotted with commercial establishments, leading to Srirangam bus stop has only worsened the traffic scenario in this temple town.

Notwithstanding repeated demands from public to find a lasting solution to deal with frequent traffic hold-ups, chaos persists. Deployment of a few traffic police personnel does not seem to have solved the periodic traffic hold-ups at the bus stand and its vicinity.

EVS Road, where Srirangam-bound government and private buses terminate, Raghavendra Arch, and a little distance away from the arch where vehicles turns towards Gandhi Road, are the most congested spots posing a huge challenge to road users.

The entire area near the bus stop and its vicinity is abuzz with activity with a chain of commercial establishments and shops. Vehicles are parked outside them restricting the existing road space. The Srirangam police station too is at a stone’s throw from the bus stop.

The traffic scenario gets even more worse during the festival period and other important occasions, besides weekends, when the inflow of tourist buses and vans transporting devotees to the temple town adds up to the vehicle density.

Many a time, omni buses, while trying to enter Raghavendra Arch from Amma Mandapam Road to proceed inside towards the parking lot, find it extremely difficult to manoeuvre leading to traffic hold-ups in the entire bus stand area. The problem gets compounded when vehicles from the arch try to turn towards Amma Mandapam Road at the same time leading to congestion. The construction of the road overbridge at Tiruvanaikoil has led to diversion of buses via Srirangam over the past few years, further worsening the situation.

The problem does not end there. Vehicle users also get stuck on Amma Mandapam Road, which has turned out to be a convenient parking lot for tourist buses and other private vehicles right under the nose of the traffic police personnel, who turn a blind eye. The road also serves as a convenient spot for push carts selling fruits and other items.

The most vulnerable road users are pedestrians who are forced to walk on the road especially in the stretch from Pulimandapam junction to the bus stand with two-wheelers and cars occupying both sides of the road and face the risk of being knocked down by speeding vehicles from behind.

“Chaotic traffic in Srirangam has only persisted and is turning worse by the day,” says C.S. Ananthakrishnan, a resident of Srirangam.

Things have changed in respect of vehicular movements in the last 15 years. As days go by, it would only become difficult given the steady rise in the number of devotees to the temple town and the vehicle density, he says.

Given the rising vehicular density, it is time the City Police, Corporation, Highways and other agencies sit together and chalk out a long-term solution to ease congestion. A lasting solution for the traffic hold-ups will emerge only if the existing bus stand is shifted to ease congestion and ensure hassle-free movement, feels Mr. Ananthankrishnan.

Steps should be taken to build a bus terminus by scouting for an appropriate site at Srirangam, says T.M. Ranganathan, another resident of Srirangam. The sooner the better, he adds.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:54:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/grappling-with-shrinking-roads-growing-vehicle-population/article27061599.ece

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