The monsoon is just days away and Puneites,especially the 80,000-strong population of the Pune Cantonment,can perhaps look forward to far less traffic snarls than they are used to. However,they may have to shell out more money to park their vehicle on the MG Road and East Street areas.
Even as Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) chief executive officer D K Malik said on Friday the traffic arrangement implemented in 2008 has proved reasonably successful,deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Manoj Patil said there is a plan to raise the parking fee of Rs 5.
We have not tampered with the traffic plan implemented on an experimental basis last year,which converted MG Road and East Street into parallel one-ways to reduce traffic jams in the cantonment zone. It will continue, Malik said.
However,deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Manoj Patil said a lot remains to be done. There is rampant misuse of the minimal fee. Many people leave their vehicles parked for 10-12 hours for just Rs 5. Double-parking is also common,as most parking spaces are nearly full as early as 10 am. While the parking fee for two hours will remain Rs 5,we have requested the PCB to charge Rs 10 an hour after the first two hours. The details are being worked out, he said.
The move to make MG Road and East Street one-way has served its purpose. The number and frequency of bottlenecks have been reduced, Patil said. He said a higher parking fee will reduce congestion in parking lots and on roads. If asked to cough up more money as parking fee,motorists,especially shoppers,will either park for two hours or less,or take public transport.
Now,the traffic on MG Road runs directly from Golibar Maidan chowk to Ambedkar chowk,without diversion. The traffic coming from MG Road and Golibar Maidan chowk is being diverted to East Street through Nusserwanji chowk. Bylanes connecting MG Road and East Street have been made two-ways.
Regular motorists on the route have also endorsed the move. The plan has worked. Traffic flow is smoother now, said Nikhil Thomas,who resides in the Camp area. But,many will feel the pinch if the parking fee is raised. Ashish Deshpande,who works in Clover Centre,said,Paying Rs 5 to park my bike on MG Road is affordable. But I may commute by bus if the fee is raised.
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