Ensuring hassle-free traffic during Onam

With more people expected to visit the city during Onam, authorities have initiated steps to ensure smooth traffic on roads, writes Anand Haridas

With the vehicle population in the city set to increase during Onam, authorities are worried about finding enough space to accommodate them. Civic authorities have initiated steps to ensure free flow of traffic in the city.

As a first step, the Corporation has decided not to allow vendors on footpaths. "The Department of Revenue will ensure that the `puramboke' land under it is not occupied by vendors during Onam season," said Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish.

The prime concern was to find enough parking space for vehicles coming into the city, mostly for shopping. The police and the Road Transport Authority did a survey to identify no-parking zones in the city.

"Around 30 parking areas were identified during that drive. We are planning to implement these directions, at least partially for the festival," said Mr. Hanish.

The original plan identified public spaces like Manappattiparambu, Marine Drive and the Ambedkar Stadium to be utilised as parking spaces.

Authorities are more concerned about restricting parking along M.G. Road, Park Avenue, Durbar Hall Road and Chittoor Road, where shopping rush is expected to be high.

"Spaces like the Durbar Hall grounds will not be able to handle the traffic, because of the high volume coming in during a short period. Also, areas like the Durbar Hall and the Ernakulathappan grounds will be used for trade shows or cultural programmes," said P. Vijayan, City Police Commissioner.

"The police are expecting either the Corporation or the district administration to identify alternative spaces for parking vehicles. Only then can we ask vehicles parked along the main roads to be removed," he said.

The police planned to ban parking along Durbar Hall Road and one side of M.G. Road, without which ensuring free flow of traffic would be difficult. "Foreshore Road was left open for those coming in for shopping at Durbar Hall area. This year, however, the road will not be open for parking due to security reasons."

"One possible way out is identifying more pay-and-park facilities near these busy centres," said Mr. Vijayan. The police and the Ernakulam Merchants Union had successfully worked out a similar arrangement on Market Road.

They are currently working on an arrangement wherein traders in the area will pay the rent for the space so that their customers can make use of the facility free of cost.

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