The Chennai Corporation’s initiative to widen footpaths from 1.5 metres to 3 metres by reclaiming space from road in order to make it pedestrian friendly and to regulate traffic, has won accolades from civil society.
The Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi hailed this initiative by the Chennai Corporation officials, during an international workshop here.
Nandakumar, executive engineer, Corporation of Chennai, said that under the grants obtained from Tamil Nadu Road Infrastructure Fund (TURIF), the Corporation of Chennai had taken up 71 major roads that extend up to a length of 48.60 kilometres at an estimated cost of Rs 42.5 crore. On these roads, the existing five feet footpath will be converted to 10 feet footpath and facilities like ‘street furniture’ and toilets will be provided. “The work is in its advanced stage,” he said.
“We will be taking up the works on 383 roads soon,” said Nandakumar. He said that the Corporation of Chennai was enlisting the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI)and others to maintain the new roads. The maintenance work includes day to day cleaning of roads every three hours a day.
He said that they had planned to construct 780 public toilets on these 71 roads. The Corporation is taking the help of architects in designing it, he added. He noted that the footpaths were designed in such a way that during rains ,water will fall into a catch pit in the buffer and then into pipes under the footpath.
“The level of the drain is below that of the footpath. Proper sloping in carriageway design is essential for this to work,” he said.
“We are also focusing on specifics which include removal of obstructions as well as compliance with the access standards for people with disabilities,” he added.
He also said that the Chennai Corporation is focusing on making T Nagar (South Usman Road) and Mylapore (North to East to South Mada Street) more pedestrian-friendly. This includes, restricting some modes of traffic in certain areas and allowing only public transport and including trees and structures for shade, as well as space for street vendors.Battery-operated vehicles in these zones are also part of the plan.