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Festival buyers run out of parking spaces

Police and society should have predicted crowds and heavy vehicles, they say

The lack of sufficient designated parking lots on commercial streets forced vehicle users to park along the roads leading to traffic jams in various parts of the city.

With Deepavali just two weeks away, shopping streets such as NSB Road, Singarathope, Chinnakadai Street, Big Bazaar Street, Nandi Koil Street, Super Bazaar, Shastri Road and Karur Bypass Road are teeming with shoppers. They saw heavy crowds, especially during the latter part of the week, which gave the police a hard time.

While buyers have found it extremely difficult to find free spaces to park their vehicles, police personnel have also struggled to regulate the flow of vehicles. As police closed all major roads leading to busy shopping streets due to overcrowding, shoppers were forced to park their cars on both sides of West Boulevard Road, Madurai Road, Old Goodshed Road and others. Many could only find vacancies beyond Devar Hall on West Boulevard Road. Cars were parked on roads in at least two rows, encroaching on almost a third of the road space.

They had to walk over a kilometer to do their shopping. The two-wheelers, which managed to slip through the shopping streets, parked their vehicles as they wished.

Although the crowds and number of vehicles were lower on Monday and Tuesday compared to the weekend, there was no slowdown in traffic at Main Guard Gate and Madurai Road. The overflow of parking lots by a few textile showrooms also worsened the traffic blockage. When police closed the entry point at the Teppakulam Post Office, vehicles had to take a roundabout route to travel on West Boulevard Road. Car owners have been seen arguing with police and private security personnel employed by textile showrooms for banning their vehicles.

“It is a nightmarish experience to find free places to park vehicles. I spent about 30 minutes and had no choice but to park in the “no parking zone” on West Boulevard Road near Devar Hall, ”says one customer.

Many felt that the police and the Society should have planned the dense crowds and vehicles well in advance to set up temporary parking lots.

R. Mutharasu, Deputy Police Commissioner, Traffic, said The Hindu that arrangements had been made for temporary parking in the playgrounds of Holy Cross College Upper Secondary School and Bishop Heber Upper Secondary School. The school administration had accepted the plan. A two-wheeler parking lot had been created on Old Goodshed Road. No cars or two-wheelers were allowed on NSB Road, Chinnakadai Street and parts of Big Bazaar Street as they witnessed a dense crowd. Restricted vehicle entry was in effect at Singarathope.

Mr. Mutharasu said the traffic situation was monitored from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on busy roads. About 150 traffic officers had been hired to ensure the free movement of vehicles.

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