Its been nearly 4 months since I’m back in Ebene after an office relocation from the capital of the island. Although it really suits me to be here for the time being for personal reasons, I still don’t understand the hype around this savagely-developed region. Many companies move over here for several reasons, including its strategic position at the center of the island, thus, easily accessible from all over the island. Also, the word “Ebene” gives a completely different perception when mentioned as a workplace. However, I have personally always considered Ebene as an industrial zone.
We can’t even use the term cyber because you can find a wide range of companies doing business here. Just to mention a few : banks, loads of call centers, an eye clinic, a private university and of course, hundreds of software development companies. I also know a few companies which have moved their administrative offices over here.
With traffic jams at the entrance of the ‘city’ in the morning and again, traffic jams when leaving in the afternoon, the roads simply can’t handle so many vehicles. On top of that, we can be thankful that a good majority of companies work in shift systems and flexi-time or else, there would probably be a much greater flow of vehicles and people. Very often, especially in Fridays and also during heavy rainfall, the traffic simply comes to a stand-still.
The road infrastructure is a complete failure with the few roundabouts contributing to traffic jams, lack of pedestrian crossings and pavements alongside roads. Although the decision to connect the Terre Rouge Verdun road to Ebene has been a very good one, this has significantly increased the number of vehicles at that point. The different entry points in the region become bottlenecks during peak hours with a direct impact on other surrounding road networks and even, on the motorway. Without police officers regulating the traffic, many would start their day with a hell time in the traffic jam.
Although I could have mentioned the parking issue above, I believe that it really deserves a section. It is probably the biggest problem in the industrial zone. With buildings capable of hosting offices for thousands of people, only a portion of employees are eligible for parking spaces available, leaving thousands of vehicles parked on the roads which were never made to cater for parking areas. Despite road markings prohibiting people to park on a majority of the road network in Ebene, people simply have no other choice than leave their vehicles in those forbidden areas. Any unoccupied space is transformed to a parking space, whether on the road sides, on roundabouts, on pavements and even in remote regions surrounding the offices. With vehicles parked whenever possible, this savage parking is not only inconvenient but also dangerous for road users, including pedestrians.
The lack of (legal) parking space is not the only reason behind the daily headache for hundred of drivers. A simple look at the monthly parking fees can explain a lot of things. For instance, the lowest price I came across is Rs 1700 per month for a parking area located in a remote end of Ebene while parking spaces near buildings can cost up to Rs 3000 per month.
Without (mostly illegal) food hawkers operating practically everywhere in the region, a large majority of people working in Ebene can probably starve to death since there’s only one commercial food court and a few smaller food courts in some of the buildings. At noon, you can easily find a large variety of food including dholl puris, stuffed bread, khebab, briani, fruit salads, boullettes among others. With probably no need to pay for any location, permits or extra expenses, hawkers are able to sell food at fair prices, thus encouraging people to buy food from the hawkers instead of food courts. Fortunately, I have witnessed good hygene around the people selling food but I wonder how many among them actually have a food handling certification and a hawker permit.
A tip :
Be careful when standing by your car’s trunk at noon :
People might think that you are selling food! And I am not joking!
What’s in for the future?
Despite the existing known problems faced, there’s no proper development plan for the region. While remaining scarce trees are being cut down, some parking areas will very soon disappear to make space for new buildings which are way much more profitable. Normally, there should be a multi-storey building for parking purposes but the project has been frozen for some political or administrative reason. This won’t change a big deal as monthly parking fees are constantly on the rise. New parking spaces will only allow more people to come in their vehicles if they can afford to pay the price.
Next, with no metro (tramway or whatever) station in this highly dense region, those choosing this transport medium will need to travel to and from the nearest station in Rose Hill by bus. For those planning to leave their cars in the dedicated car parking near those stations, as promised by the authorities, I wish all of you good luck! I personally don’t see any additional parking space there as Rose Hill already has a dense population with large number of vehicles flowing throughout the town..
To summarize : Ebene was never designed to accommodate so many offices and people. Ebene is just about you commuting to your work space, spend your day or night in your office and travel back to your home. No one cares how you travel to your office, park your vehicle, move to and from basic services, eat your lunch or find a few minutes to relax from the stressful industrial zone.
What’s next? Keep tuned to the blog for a personal announcement in some weeks…