mid-day campaign: Autos, parents' vehicles birth monster jam near St Stanislaus School
As St Stanislaus School does not have its own buses, private and public vehicles, including auto-rickshaws and vans, crowd the gate every morning and evening, causing almighty congestion on Bandra's busy Hill Road
The 155-year-old St Stanislaus School, among the oldest educational institutions in the city, is located bang on Bandra's bustling Hill Road. But, despite slotting different school hours for primary and secondary sections, the traffic congestion here continues to be a giant headache for parents and local residents alike.
Autorickshaws, vans and other vehicles ferrying children crowd the entrance to the school buildings every morning and evening. A row of auto rickshaws can be seen parked on both sides of the road. As St Stanislaus School doesn't offer transportation services, parents depend on these vans and autos as a more reliable and economical mode of transport. While some are able to find space close to the gate, others have to park on the opposite side or on the adjacent road, adding to the chaos.
Children and parents crossing the road in the middle of traffic adds to the general chaos
As soon as the bell rings, students of the primary section race to the gate. The auto drivers then wait until they have found all the students who will be crammed into their vehicles, holding up traffic in the narrow lane. At the gate of the high school section, one can see a long line of students crossing over the divider to get to their autos parked on another road. Due to the absence of the traffic police at the junction, motorists and the bus drivers can be seen stopping traffic even when the traffic lights are green.
Barring the safety factor of the students who cross the road on their own, a majority of the parents who come to pick up their children have a scooter and tend to park right in front of the gate. Most of the parents don't stop for longer than a minute, but multiple scooters lined up waiting outside the gate results in a massive traffic congestion on the busy road.
An illegally operating auto crammed with schoolchildren are a common sight in front of the school gate
Principal Anna Correa said, "At the beginning of the year, we had set up a traffic committee, mostly made up of willing parents and some teachers. Parent volunteers come in the morning, at the lunch break and after school to help at the gate. Along with the school, they have worked out a way to reduce congestion problems. For instance, no parking is allowed at the main gate and vehicles have to be parked either before or after the gate. The senior boys enter through gate number 3 and the younger ones use gate number 1. Our disadvantage is that our main gate is common for both St Peter's Church and the school. It is not possible for us to control people from coming in for church services. While the traffic department agreed to send two officers to help, they only send one in the morning as they are understaffed."
. Autos, vans, crowding the school entrance
. Parents parking their scooters or stopping their rickshaws to drop off or pick up kids, causing a traffic jam
. Long lines of students crossing the road to get to their autos parked on the other side, holding up traffic
. Absence of a traffic cop when students come out
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