Winter revellers have started pouring out in numbers and flocking to fairs, parks and museums in New Town triggering traffic snarls not too familiar in this part of the city.
Weekends are especially bad as the number of people and the traffic swell. New Town does not have traffic police strength like Kolkata and commuters would vouch that the few who are there have been struggling to keep cars moving.
The Telegraph drove around New Town and its hotspots — Eco Park, Mother’s Wax Museum, Aircraft Museum, Kolkata Gate and the mini zoo at Harinalaya opposite gate number 6 of Eco Park on Thursday and Friday — to access the situation.
Eco Park, the 480-acre signature park of New Town, is one of the prime attractions. With the near-perfect weather for picnics, this is the go-to destination for thousands across the city as well as its outskirts.
Anyone headed to the park can tell that it is near as traffic slows down completely on its approach.
On Friday, this newspaper spotted a steady stream of cars, two-wheelers and even buses headed to the park both on the airport-bound as well as the Salt-bound flank of the Major Arterial Road (MAR). A senior officer of the New Town traffic guard said there has been a surge in vehicles with each passing week in the run-up to Christmas. On Friday, at the Kolkata Gate intersection, a sizeable number of vehicles headed to the park and traffic slowed down considerably after the Westin Hotel Crossing on MAR.
Several residents of New Town told this newspaper that there is bumper-to-bumper traffic till Chinar Park on the airport-bound flank of MAR and the Kolkata Gate intersection on the Salt Lake-bound flank of the road. This happens as hundreds of parked vehicles drive onto the main road.
Many visitors to the park hop into the mini zoo at Harinalaya. The Mother’s Wax Museum, too, has a steady stream of visitors.
Since all three top draw spots are clustered around Eco Park, traffic management is a challenge for the cops.
A senior traffic police officer said those headed to the airport through MAR in New Town should drive straight through the Kolkata Gate intersection and take a left for the Ecospace flyover before continuing on the road that goes parallel to MAR in front of the Aliah University and reach the Akankha crossing.
“This will help them avoid the traffic congestion at Eco Park,” said the officer.
On Christmas Day, through the years Eco Park records an average of one lakh visitors every year.
New Town Book Fair and Sara Mela— a handicrafts fair — at the City Square and the New Town fairground opposite Fairfield by Marriott respectively are also attracting a steady stream of visitors.
“We will try to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as we can during the Christmas weekend,” a senior officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate’s traffic wing said.