“We have been in talks with the association for a few weeks now. We hope to do it on a Saturday when the move will actually serve the purpose of reducing traffic and allowing easy movement for all those out to shop,” said MA Saleem, additional commissioner of police (traffic).
The need for better traffic management in the area cannot be denied. According to Shivajinagar traffic police estimates, on weekends at least 5,000 to 6,000 pedestrians visit Commercial Street and at least 1,000 vehicles pass through the street during the peak hours on an average.
However, when it comes to parking, the street is extremely ill-equipped. On Commercial Street, only 74 vehicles can be parked at a time. Kama raj Road has parking on both sides and can accommodate about 100 vehicles.
“This becomes a bigger problem considering those visiting the commercial hub spend at least 3-4 hours shopping, unlike on MG Road or Brigade Road where it’s more of rubbernecking and cafe hopping,” said Saleem.
There’s also a third option for parking, which barely anyone uses, say police officials. The transport and traffic management centre in Shivajinagar, popularly known as the Shivajinagar bus stop, has two levels of parking where up to 250 vehicles can be parked.
“Many people think the bus stop is far from Commercial Street and will require a long walk. But it’s actually less than 500 metres from the rear side of the street,” he pointed out.
Saleem hopes to promote the bus stop for parking.”For those who cannot walk, we are looking at options like providing mini-buses from the bus stop to Commercial Street as last-mile connectivity,” he said.
The plans gain prominence at a time when Commercial Street witnessed perhaps the highest number of visitors in recent years on Saturday , forcing a ban on entry of vehicles. According to police estimates, on Saturday , the Street was chock-ablock with 7,000-9,000 pedestrians between 4pm and 8pm.”There were so many vehicles that we initially stopped cabs from entering the street.When even that didn’t help, we stopped all private vehicles. The slow-moving traffic led to a pileup all the way to Cubbon Road,” said Saleem.
He added that this is the first time that Diwali rush has caused such a problem.