Prestigious road cries for footpath

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Though Sardar Patel Road is home to many premiere institutions — IIT Madras and Anna University, Cancer Institute and Children’s park — its narrow pavements expose students, patients and public to fast moving traffic.

As against the Indian Road Congress guideline that the pavement should have a minimum width of 1.5 m without any obstructions to ensure free pedestrian flow, the footpath on Sardar Patel Road near the IIT campus is as narrow as one-and-a-half feet.

R. Manikandan, a student of Anna University, pointed out that the narrow pavement has lot of obstructions like streetlights and traffic signs, leaving very little space to walk. “Especially during the peak hours, we literally have to fight with the two-wheelers for space,” he said.

Lamenting about the sad state of pavements, a senior doctor at Cancer Institute, said, “Pavements near the Cancer Institute are literally non-existent as there are hardly a few inches of raised blocks on which even a single person cannot walk.

The authorities should keep in mind that this is a hospital zone and people who use this stretch are either sick or aged.

Lack of proper pavements exposes the public to speeding vehicles and if they are not quick to react, walking on the road may turn fatal.”

Raj Cherubal of City Connect, an NGO working with Chennai corporation to improve 60 roads to world class standards, said that pavement should be wider in localities which generate more pedestrian traffic such as railway station, bus stands, educational institutions and hospitals.

“Sardar Patel Road is one of the 60 roads which would be upgraded,” he said, adding that besides being disabled friendly, pavement should be a minimum of 2 m wide and six inches high from the surface of the road.

60 city roads set to get a ‘designer’ look soon

The erratic break-up in pavements and worn-out footpaths will soon become a thing of the past if Chennai corporation executes a pilot project under which 60 roads in the city have been identified for revamping.

City Connect, an NGO working on the city infrastructure, has prepared designs for 11 roads till now and the corporation has instructed it to prepare similar designs for the remaining, identified roads in Chennai.

In the preliminary study, architects associated with the NGO had studied Kamarajar Salai, TTK Road, Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, Turn Bulls Road, Chamiers Road and Sardar Patel Road in South Chennai.

Soon, more such designs for roads in North and Central Chennai are expected, a Chennai corporation official said.

The new road design will include redesigning of existing footpaths and iron grills will be placed at the entry and exit to prevent motorists using the platforms during peak hours.

Another major design change is making the footpath into a continuous structure so that walkers or even a person moving on a wheelchair will find it hassle-free to use the footpaths, the official explained.

To begin with, on a trial basis, the space below Cenotaph road (Moopanar bridge) will be taken up and if public response is good, slowly, the same design, with necessary alterations, will be executed in other congested areas that have heavy footfall, the official added.

“The new pathway design is a welcome move, but the corporation should ensure that the new structures will help drain stormwater from apartments and residential areas during the monsoon,” hoped Mr K. Sreenivasan, a resident of Kottur gardens.

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