Shoppers, traders take over roads; As go-slow ‘grips’ Accra

Makola Market

Traffic congestion in the Central Business District of Accra has intensified following the increased number of Christmas shoppers in the city.

The activities of traders who have extended their wares onto pavements and sections of the roads have worsened the traffic situation.

Shoppers are, therefore, compelled under the circumstance to walk on the roads, which slows down  the movement of vehicles.

Besides, the unauthorised parking of vehicles on one part of the two-lane Makola Market road has forced motorists to use only one section of the road.

Roads with huge traffic congestion include the Makola Market, Tudu, Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) and  the High Street.

Vehicles move at a snail’s pace in traffic, which more than doubles the travel time.

The heat of the sun adds to the burden of motorists as most of the vehicles do not have air conditioners. People are seen wiping  sweat  off their bodies  occasionally.

The situation is more serious for passengers of ‘trotro’ vehicles as the vehicles are not spacious enough for the passengers to stretch their legs to ease the pain of staying too long in traffic.

Besides the time wasted in traffic, another worry for motorists is the amount of fuel they burn in the too-slow-moving traffic.

The Daily Graphic team saw police officers busily controlling traffic at strategic intersections in areas, including  Makola Market, Tudu, Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) and High Street.

Despite the efforts of the police, the movement of the traffic was still slow due to the huge number of vehicles.

Traders  displayed their wares in shops, on the floor, on trucks, wire mesh and on anything that could  support their goods.

Goods on display at the various trading centres in Accra included shoes, shirts, trousers, children’s wear, bags and cloths.

The Daily Graphic team saw a few people bargaining  with traders.

Some  traders interviewed by the Daily Graphic indicated that this year’s sales were far below those of last year.

They attributed the situation to the increase in the price of goods and the President’s order for state institutions to not give out hampers during the Christmas season.

A trader of children’s wear at Tudu, Mrs Joyce Opoku, said sales were too bad this year, as she could not finish selling the first consignment of her goods.

For instance, she said, she imported new goods every three days last year, which was not the situation this year.

Mrs Opoku, who blamed the poor sales on high prices of goods, said children’s trousers and shirts that sold for GHc14 last year were now priced at GHc20.

A trader of assorted food items at the Makola Market, Auntie Becky, said sales had dropped drastically this year compared to the situation last year.

She said, for example, that she sold 1,000 packets of piccadilly biscuits last year but she was struggling to sell 100 packets this year.

Auntie Becky attributed the situation to the President’s directive to government institutions to not give out hampers.

A shoe seller at the CMB Market, Mrs Sophia Mensah, said the continuous harassment by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) task force had affected her sales as she was forced to run from one place to another to avoid being arrested.

The Commander of the Accra Central Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), Chief Superintendent Anderson Fosu-Ackaah, said he had deployed more police officers at various sections of the city to decongest traffic.

That, he said, was in line with the composite strategy launched by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Alhassan, on road management.

Chief Superintendent Fosu-Ackaah said the police officers would also arrest motorists who would be found flouting traffic regulations, by either jumping the red light or parking wrongly.

He said the police would also intensify the impounding of unlicensed motorbikes and arrest of riders who did not wear helmets.

Chief Superintendent Fosu-Ackaah said the police would enforce the law that forbids pedestrians from crossing the road when the pedestrian stop light was on and ensure that pedestrians use the  overpass.

He said the enforcement of the law would ensure sanity in the way pedestrians used the roads and consequently reduce the rate of pedestrian injury and deaths on the road.

Chief Superintendent Fosu-Ackaah advised drivers to avoid speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol during the Christmas season.

He again urged drivers to not drive when they were tired, since fatigue driving caused accidents.

“We wish that we do not record any accidents during Christmas. They should not drink and drive. If you are tired, go home and sleep.

“If you spend Christmas anywhere, it is Christmas,” Chief Superintendent Fosu-Ackaah said.

Chief Superintendent Fosu-Ackaah said the MTTD and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) have started an educational exercise on the need for motorists to observe traffic regulations.

source : Graphic Online