Chennai Corporation is working on a proposed pilot greenway project for Marina Beach running from Royapuram in the north to Foreshore Estate in the south, Corporation officials said.
A greenway is a multi-use trail designed to provide a safe alternative to walk, jog, bike, or skate away from busy city streets. Many cities have successfully transformed urban spaces and provided alternative networks for walking and cycling.
The project, which is likely to be worth `7-10 crore, was initially suggested for a 11 km stretch by City Connect and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), but Corporation officials said the stretch between Lighthouse and Slumboard also known as Marina Loop Road was not feasible for cycling. “The Right of Way availability would be an issue in this regard, as such the 11 km stretch is likely to be reduced,” said corporation officials. ITDP officials said the project would include landscaping and waterscaping.
Initially, it was proposed that vehicular traffic on Wallajah Road, Sivananda Salai and part of Anna Salai stretch be totally stopped to make them pedestrian friendly besides building lanes for cyclists. After discussion with traffic department officials, the plan was tweaked to make them one-way for vehicular traffic. “The project is still being worked out and nothing is finalized,” Chennai Corporation officials added.
ITDP sources told Express that since Wallajah Road is a VIP zone, two-way vehicular traffic could perhaps be allowed while making it more pedestrian friendly. “We are planning to make it more pedestrian friendly. It will be a link from Metro Station to Marina Beach. Coming to Sivanada Salai, it has more tar but less traffic. We are also planning to make it more of a uniform four-lane road,” the ITDP official said.
He said Sivananda Salai would be designed in such a way that the Cooum, which is proposed to be cleaned and restored, can be accessed by the public. This part of the project was conceived during Saidai Duraiswamy’s watch as Chennai Mayor, he said.
It is believed that a report submitted to the government, has recommended that the greenway include segregated cycle track connections to the MRTS stations along the corridor. “It will provide civic amenities of the highest order, not just for recreation, but for everyday commuting,” sources said.
The project would include high quality, expanded pedestrian footpath, cycle tracks, trees, benches, wastebins, besides other public space amenities.
Chennai Corporation is also planning to have public cycle sharing systems that are popular in many countries and are a relatively new concept in India. Several Indian cities have shown interest in setting up such systems. A pilot phase of India’s first fully automated cycle sharing system was recently launched in Bangalore, and additional systems are being planned in Bhopal, Gurgaon, Mysore, and Rajkot.
“We are also planning to have a cycle sharing system on this stretch,” he said.