CHENNAI: Nadaipaadhai Nadapadharku’. Signages on footpaths carrying this message have become a matter of irony. Footpaths have been taken over by vehicles, vendors and other obstacles, which forces pedestrians to walk on roads along with moving traffic.
One such instance can be found on TTK Road. Clean, garbage-free pavements on either side of TTK Road outside Music Academy are often encroached by two-wheelers that are parked along these stretches.
Due to a spill-over of vehicles, people attending programmes at the academy are asked to park their vehicles on the pavements, under no-parking boards. “This happens when popular events are held. When I informed both the management and the concerned people, who hired the premises, they asked us to tow the vehicles away. But it’s not possible to take away 40 to 50 two-wheelers,” said a traffic police sub-inspector at the RK Salai-TTK Road junction.
On the other hand, the management said that people who hire the venue need to take care of the parking needs of the audience who come for their event. “We have instructed our security guards to not let vehicles in, once our parking space is full. But we never ask people to park on the pavement. If the academy conducts any event then we make sure we have sufficient space to accommodate the vehicles,” said the manager of Music Academy.
A similar situation is found in Mylapore which is abundant with halls for cultural programmes, but lack parking facility. Sundareswarar Street is often clogged with vehicles parked on either side by rasikas. “RK Swamy Hall and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan have no facility for car or two-wheeler parking. Though these halls hire a nearby school ground for this purpose, it’s only a temporary solution. The footpath outside the Bhavan is filled with vehicles,” said Balaji CR, a civic activist, who has also raised a complaint with a vegetable store on RK Mutt Road for encroaching the pavements with vehicles.
But the authorities at the Bhavan said that two transformers on either side of the pavement make the footpath inaccessible to people. “We do not charge for tickets for any programme. So we don’t have to provide parking space for people who come to the Bhavan. They should ideally park their vehicles elsewhere and walk to the hall,” said KN Ramaswamy, director of the Bhavan.
As there is a severe dearth for space in the city, such encroachments have become inevitable today said Mageshwari C, DCP, Traffic (East). “There are no earmarked spaces for par ing in any locality. So people park wherever they find space. Unless spaces are specially demarcated for parking are created, pavements and other public spaces can never be fully used by the public,” she said.