CHENNAI: Traffic diverted through smaller lanes due to Metro Rail work has led to a host of problems for residents of the once ‘peaceful’ localities in the city.
All vehicles coming from Nelson Manickam Road are being diverted through Narasimha Street on account of the Metro Rail works going on near Ampa SkyWalk Mall. The entire stretch does not have a single streetlight and the absence of traffic signals makes it extremely dangerous for motorists after dusk.
M Nagaraj, who runs a car garage on this street, says the residents had to exercise more caution while crossing the road with the heavy flow of traffic. “Pedestrians can’t walk freely and children are dissuaded from playing outside their homes because of the traffic. Moreover, the diversion of heavy vehicles into the smaller lanes creates a lot of inconvenience to the residents,” he adds.
Abdul Aleem, a meat stall owner, feels that the Metro Rail work should be expedited. “Initially the officials said that the diversion would be only for a year, but the Metro Rail work has trailed on for four years now and has still not been completed,” he says.
Claiming that parking spaces across the city were shrinking due to the Metro Rail work, C K Babu, a security personnel at a private hospital located in Aminjikarai says, “During emergencies, patients coming on bikes find it difficult to park their vehicles on the road as there’s always a constant stream of buses and cars.”
Chaos caused by Metro Rail work apart, N S Srinivasan, Chairman of the Transport Advisory Forum, Chennai, feels that the city needs to adopt the concept of ‘traffic calming’, a popular concept in Australia and Europe. “It is a planning technique where residential streets are kept completely free from vehicular traffic. This is primarily to facilitate easy mobility for pedestrians and cyclists,” he says. Conveying that vehicles should be allowed to ply at high speeds only on arterial roads, Srinivasan adds, “Local lanes should have a speed limit of 15-20 kmph. This could be achieved by creating speed humps, which are not as high as the traditional speed breakers.