It is a matter of pride to watch Mercedes, Lancers and BMW cars dash across roads here.
But the appreciation is quickly dampened on encountering the abysmal problem of parking in every corner of the city.
Commercial hubs of the city, like Aminabad, are a nightmare. Despite, a huge parking lot constructed opposite the Central Hotel, roadsides continue to be packed with motorbikes and cars parked irresponsibly and leaving little space for commuters. The result is jam-packed roads filled with irritated commuters lacking in civic sense, honking incessantly and unnecessarily.
“The honking has taken a toll on my health. I have developed blood pressure problems from sitting all day and witnessing the din and ruckus created by traffic here,” says Ajit Khanna, a shop-owner of wedding cards in the busy area of Aminabad.
On being asked as to why even he and his clients, park right in front of the shop, he mocks why should he go all the way to the parking to spend energy and money:
“Ab kaun itni door jaaye aur paisa kharch karke gaadi park kare”
The apathy of the likes of Ajit and others is not limited to Aminabad. In Indira Nagar and Hazratganj the problem is similar. The Janpath Market in Hazratganj is home to leading showrooms of chikankari and other readymade garments but the shoppers and salesmen usually park their motorbikes right in front of shops. This is despite the multi-level parking across the main road. However, recent times have seen some improvement after authorities insisted on towing away cars and bikes that were parked irresponsibly.
The situation in the Old City, which is home to all the architectural marvels of Lucknow, is most disturbing. There, tempo drivers halt their vehicles at will, whereas the less said about the denizens, the better. There is a paucity of civic sense amongst the general public, with people using any and every place that takes their fancy, including in front of chemist shops near the King George Medical University, that result in perpetual traffic jams.
Every Thursday, the situation is even more grim, as devotees at the Dargah of Shahmeena park their vehicles along the roadside, leaving no room for commuters. It is the same story every Tuesday in Chowk when devotees in large numbers visit the famous Mata Ka Mandir.
The Qaiserbagh complex is supposedly a heritage area but suffers most from parking problems, thanks to the crowds that collect at the High Court causing traffic snarls every moment of the day.
Areas with or without parking lots are both subjected to lawless parking activities. The question is, will citizens remain parked or are we all going to do something about it?
Let us begin this minute then by each one of us pledging to not be irresponsible in all public places including when it comes to parking and then change will surely happen!