Mass local transport such as trams will ply on ground, skywalks that connect different commercial buildings at the first floor will network pedestrians at higher level and extensive subways to facilitate safe crossing of roads will be in place, if recommendations of the consultants appointed to plan redevelopment of T. Nagar are implemented.
T. Nagar is the major retail commercial hub of Chennai and the rentals of retail space there range from Rs.70 to Rs.150 per sq. ft.
The Chennai Corporation had requested Tamilnadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Ltd (TNUIFSL) to assist it in redeveloping this six sq. km commercial area. The TNUIFSL, in turn, had appointed Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj (JLLM) as consultants.
T. Nagar is not planned for high-level commercial activity and it is besieged with problems of grid locking, limited road capacity, no scope for expansion and lack of open space. What it requires are “removal of through traffic, extensive pedestrianisation, organised open spaces and parking facilities.”
The future of T. Nagar and its prospects of becoming a world class shopping centre would depend on how well it manages traffic infrastructure and what new opportunities it creates for making it a good place, the consultants said in the inception report.
The proposals under review include division of T. Nagar into different sectors with restricted car movements between them, widening of pavements, building multilevel parking areas at the edge of T. Nagar and creating ample space for large public squares.
However, other important issues such as new development control rules for this area and changes to the Floor Space Index (FSI) that determine the maximum built up area do not figure in the present report and are expected to be part of the subsequent reports.
The consultants have drawn inspiration from the best practices adopted in various cities across the world. Examples of redevelopment projects in cities such as Utrecht, Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Hong Kong have been studied and salient features incorporated.
The inception report has given the Chennai Corporation three options to choose from. “The first option is the pedestrianisation in the core area, the second creating traffic calm area with limited vehicles plying and the third focuses on creating skywalks and multilevel pedestrianisation,” the report said.
“The inception report submitted by the consultants captures initial findings and provides a broad vision. This is under review. After this, the consultants will undertake extensive public consultations at three levels. The suggestions that come out of these meetings will be incorporated in the following interim report. This will be followed by reviews and the final report will submitted after that. This would take about another 4 months,” said a higher official connected with the project.