School areas yet to be ‘safe traffic zones’ in Visakhapatnam

Students crossing the road amid heavy traffic at Assilmetta in Visakhapatnam.

Students crossing the road amid heavy traffic at Assilmetta in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: V. RAJU

The stretch of National Highway-16 passing through the Madhurawada Junction (Chandramapalem) tests the patience of motorists, traffic personnel and the parents of the children who attend the schools nearby. The traffic perssonel manning this stretch describe schooltime both in the morning and afternoon as peak hours for a reason.

As the clock ticks 8 in the morning, schoolchildren, accompanied by their guardians, seek to cross the road in groups even as two-wheelers and four-wheelers wait for the green signal. Meanwhile, some impatient parents try to sneak through the vehicles passing through the junction, making it difficult for the traffic personnel.

“Everyone is in a hurry. The peak hours means chaos. This is an accident-prone area. We have seen many people dying after being hit by lorries while crossing the road. A traffic constable, some days two, help us cross the road. Still, I am scared,” says Mohan Rao, a resident of Madhurawada, who drops his daughter daily at a school nearby the junction.

Krishnaveni, another parent, says that traffic personnel started manning the junction just a few months ago.

“We feel a bit relaxed now as traffic personnel have been deployed at the junction. Yet, we cannot call it a safe zone, especially for schoolchildren . A foot-over-bridge would have made it easy for everybody. But, the long-pending demnand is yet to be fulfilled,” she points out.

Like Madhurawada Junction, many areas in the city are facing similar problems. Many parents point fingers at lack of adequate restrictions when it comes to managing traffic in the crowded areas dotted with school and colleges. They allege that many school zones even lack the basic zebra crossing.

Similar is the case of Asilmetta. With the Dwaraka Bus Terminal located nearby, RTC buses keep plying at a good frequency. But, traffic congestion has become the order of the day during the school hours. Citizens say that the situation appears to be a bit under control with students going to Intermediate colleges nearby follow staggerred times but it is a chaos as the institutions close for the day at the same time.

Major concerns
Many school zones lack proper signboards, speed-limit boards and zebra crossings
Major portions of footpaths occupied by vendors
Overspeeding of vehicles remains an issues in school zones
More initiatives needed to ensure thatchildren cross the roads in hassle-free manner
Stringent implementation of traffic rules in schooool zones at Madhurawada, NAD Junction, Assilmetta, Gajuwaka, Akkayyapalem and Dwaraka Nagar

Students jumping the barricades or road median to reach the bus stops at RTC Complex or at Rama Talkies Junction is a commonsight. Some parents complain that halfhazard driving by auto-rickshaws drivers add to the woes.

“Major portions of the footpaths in Dwaraka Nagar and Dondaparthy have been occupied by vendors, forcing us walk on the main road. The authorities must emnsure that footpaths in the school zones are free,” opines Sai Sudha from Akkayyapalem, whose daughter studies in a school near Dwaraka Nagar.

Some parents also demand that school or college managements must engage personnel to monitor the children at traffic junctions.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sheikh Arifullah says that the traffic police have been manning the traffic junctions during the peak hours.

“Special focus is being laid on the school and college zones. However, some more initiatives can be launched as precautionary measures. Plans of diverting heavy vehicles to some other routes during the school hours is being considered,” says Mr. Sheikh Arifullah.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 1:11:40 am |