CHENNAI: Traffic snarls outside schools on city’s arterial roads in areas like Nungambakkam, Mylapore and Mogappair, are an important indicator of the city’s dubious statistic of recording second-highest number of road accidents near educational institutions.
Roads jam-packed with two-wheelers and wide cars are a common sight near schools, especially those catering to the well-off, during the drop and pick-up hours in the morning and evening. Not only is this irksome for other motorists, but also results in accidents.
“Parents get tensed during morning as they have to ensure that their wards reach school on time, safely and they also have to rush to their office. Almost every other parent brings their kid in cars and this causes a lot of chaos outside the school,” said S Arumainathan, president of the Tamil Nadu Parent-Teacher Association.
“A number of accidents take place due to fall from two-wheelers when parents come to drop off their kids. Sometimes, they bring more than one child on their two-wheeler, who may not be wearing helmets as well,” said R Vishalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Matriculation Schools Association.
The vice-principal of a CBSE school in Nungambakkam suggested that children be admitted only to a school in the vicinity of their homes. “This way they can walk or cycle to school. Parents needn’t bring them in cars,” she said.
Arumainathan and Vishalakshi stressed the importance of using public transport or school vans, as each could ferry 40 children at a time, which would mean at least 20 fewer private vehicles in the vicinity of the school every morning. “But if we make it compulsory, parents say schools are forcing their transport on us,” added Vishalakshi. Car pooling among four to five parents would also be a better alternative, she added.
“If better quality public transport, exclusively for school children was made available, parents would have no problem in availing of that facility,” said Arumainathan. A few years ago, police had suggested that schools could escort children to a large open space, like a ground, nearby, where the parents could arrive with their cars to take their kids. This was mooted as it would eliminate lining up of cars outside the school’s gates, which ultimately is a major cause for traffic jams. However, the CBSE school vice-principal pointed out that it would not be feasible as Chennai had few such large open spaces. “I don’t think parents would feel secure about their children being on such grounds due to anti-social elements lurking around,” Arumainathan said.