With vendors and two-wheelers encroaching platforms, it is the pedestrians who find the going tough, writes L. Srikrishna
Where do we walk, is the question asked by many pedestrians, particularly, senior citizens. With almost every bit of space provided for pedestrian movement being encroached, there is absolutely no way for them to go around in shopping malls or in public places.
While the police say, they have very limited role to play and point their fingers towards the Corporation authorities to evict the encroachers, the ultimate sufferers are the public (read pedestrians) since there space has been encroached.
With every bit of space on platforms, meant for walkway, being taken over by road side vendors and for two-wheeler parking, things are pretty worse for strangers and tourists visiting the city by foot.
Any business street – be it the bullion bazaar road or the stretch along Thirumalai Naick Palace or the Netaji Road or North Veli Street or the Railway Junction Road facing West Veli Street – the problem is one and the same.
Apart from parking two-wheelers on the platform in front of the Railway Junction, the four-wheelers – mostly tourist taxis and call taxis have encroached the road space opposite to a hotel on the stretch. This has not only shrunk the carriage space on the West Veli Street, but also poses danger to motorists who have to manoeuvre these parked vehicles. The absence of traffic policemen at key spots on West Masi Street and South Masi Streets too has made it a hell for pedestrians, who have no other alternative, but to walk on the middle of road. Last week, an auto driver dashed against a pedestrian in front of a construction material showroom on West Masi and a fight between them on the middle of the road resulted in a traffic jam for over 15 minutes. But, locals say, it is common. The scenario is all the more worse for pedestrians along the South Marret Street as vegetable vendors do a brisk sale on both sides of the road. The non-removal of temporary dumper bins placed on the stretch adds to woes.
The traffic police may identify space for parking after conducting a study. Play grounds available in the city could be an alternative spot for parking of vehicles after school hours. One-side parking on congested roads should come into force with immediate effect on stretches like Tamil Sangam Road, Vakkil New Street. Big shopping complex/malls/kalyana mandapams and hotels should take responsibility for parking of two-wheelers/four-wheelers visiting their premises. Vacant space belonging to Corporation and government ‘poromboke' land in the city and peripheries could be identified and given to private players on a partnership arrangement and multi-level parking space could be built.