mid-day campaign: School buses squeeze traffic into single lane at RN Podar school

Updated: Dec 27, 2018, 08:17 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Podar Education Complex buses are parked on both sides of narrow road outside school; space left is occupied by parents arriving in their vehicles

Some parents come in cars to pick up their children, adding to the traffic chaos. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Some parents come in cars to pick up their children, adding to the traffic chaos. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

If you have ever been on SV Road at Santacruz around noon, you must have seen the yellow school buses with Podar Education Complex labelled on either side. These are parked along both sides of the road leading to the RN Podar School. The chaos when school is over brings the traffic to a standstill for about an hour on weekdays, a problem that has persisted for many years.

As the school hours of Lilavatibai Podar School and R N Podar School both end within few minutes of each other, the space left after the buses are parked along the footpaths, is occupied by students catching with each other before going home. The primary section at RN Podar School ends at 12.15 pm and the secondary school ends just a few minutes later. Amidst this, are parents who arrive on their scooters, in auto-rickshaws and even in private cars to pick up their children, adding to the chaos. Due to the lack of space on the footpaths, many parents have no choice but to stand in the middle of the road while looking for their child.

Students leaving for the day chat with friends, adding to traffic issues
Students leaving for the day chat with friends, adding to traffic issues

One-way road adds to chaos
The road between RN Podar and Lilavatibai Podar School is known as Andrews Road. Vehicles can only move in one direction on it. Many vehicle drivers, especially autos and two-wheeler riders can be seen disregarding traffic rules as they try to navigate their way through the crowd of students. Apart from the traffic congestion that creates a problem for parents, local residents, shop keepers as well as motorists just passing through the area, the safety of the children is also an issue. On the road adjacent to RN Podar School, the building that previously was the Podar International School is currently being re-developed. On December 11, a few workers could be seen lifting a massive grille from the ground. The grille dangled just above a school bus which had students sitting inside. Despite being a hazard, none of the school staff on the road seemed bothered by it.

Solutions proposed
Every school has been mandated to form a transport committee that has proposed and implemented solutions to the traffic issues. The school's principal Avnita Bir said that a transport committee which includes members of the PTA has been constituted. The committee meets with the transport department and the traffic police once every six months to find solutions to the traffic issues in the area. "Letters from the PTA have been sent to the traffic police department repeatedly in the past and for some time they would block the road during dispersal hours. But then a few months ago, they opened the road to the traffic again. While we have the co-operation of the traffic police, it is also our responsibility to ensure easy movement on the road, and our system and guards deal with the traffic," Bir said.

The narrow road outside RN Podar School where there is chaos for an hour every day
The narrow road outside RN Podar School where there is chaos for an hour every day

Major problems

  • Vehicles disobeying one-way traffic rule
  • Buses parked on the narrow road causing traffic congestion
  • Students standing in the middle of the road
  • Double parking of cars on adjacent road
  • No traffic constable present at the junction despite heavy traffic congestion

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