As a waiting point for SETC buses and a space illegally taken over by vendors, North Mada Street and the section of ECR close to it are anything but pedestrian-friendly, writes Liffy Thomas

Encroachments, the reason for traffic congestion at the Thiruvanmiyur section of East Coast Road, is proving to be a stubborn problem. Pavement vendors were recently evicted from North Mada Street in Thiruvanmiyur, near the bus depot, but some of them were soon back at their regular spots to resume their business.

A row of stalls, which include sale of chicken, flowers, popcorn and pakoda, has been making it difficult for pedestrians to use the pavement.

Walking space is further reduced due to people waiting for SETC buses heading to Puducherry.

This area is also a waiting point for people taking inter-city buses.

Adding to these problems, the stretch is clogged with regular traffic heading towards ECR.

“I am tired of listening to complaints from customers about the stench from the chicken stall on the pavement, right outside my shop,” said K. Balamurugan, who runs the Aavin parlour at North Mada Street.

Last week, he says, Corporation officials evicted these pavement sellers, but they are back again.

The heavy traffic witnessed at this junction is largely the result of the Thiruvanmiyur bus terminus-cum-depot nearby and the vegetable market abutting it.

North Mada Street is also used by those visiting the famous Marundeeswarar Temple. Then, the Madras District Branch Library on the main road also draws many visitors.

Residents say it is worse in the evenings, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., as a line of buses is parked on the road.

“The road is too narrow for the number of vehicles that use it. To make things worse, you have share and regular autorickshaws taking up part of the road space,” says K. Prema, a resident who escorts her son from school regularly.

Some suggest shifting the bus stop beyond the temple.

According to an SETC staff, nearly 300 buses take the stretch every day and the maximum number (120) of them ply from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Most of the buses are full during holidays, otherwise they go empty. So, buses have to wait to have more passengers on board and this is the only place to wait for passengers,” he said.

Anwar Basha, Assistant Commissioner (Traffic) Adyar says the encroachments from Thiruvanmiyur terminus till RTO have all been removed and his team will continue to check on hawkers. “Creating separate bays for autorickshaws and removing encroachments are steps to allow free flow of traffic and avoid accidents too,” he said.