Residents of Parankusapuram, Rangarajapuram and West Mambalam have demanded that two-wheeler traffic be allowed in a subway being constructed by Southern Railway at Rangarajapuram. The Railways planned the Rs. 3-crore facility (replacing a level crossing) as a pedestrian-only subway.

A group of over 500 residents has petitioned Chennai Corporation commissioner and mayor to intervene in the matter and expressed fears that the subway could be misused if turned into a limited-use facility.

Residents said they were better off when the railway gate was in operation as motorists could use it. Those living in 30-40 streets including Aziz Nagar, Parangusapuram, Sakthi Nagar, Subramaniapuram and West Mambalam, will benefit if the subway is opened to two- and three-wheeler traffic. It would also help reduce congestion on Kodambakkam flyover and Doraisamy subway.

Meenakshi Ramachandran of Vishwanathapuram Main Road, said pedestrians including women and senior citizens would feel safe if there was constant vehicular movement in the new subway.

“Otherwise nobody will use it and anti-social elements will take over the place. Vendors and beggars too would encroach upon space in the subway if it were to be restricted to pedestrians.”

R. Govindaraj, a resident of Lakshminarayan Street in West Mambalam said residents, MLAs and corporation councilors from the area had petitioned authorities for over 20 years to replace the railway gate and the flyover.

“The flyover is a reality, finally. But the subway work has been pending for over a year now. The facility is being constructed using public money. When residents make a valid demand that small vehicles be allowed, the Railway authorities should allow it,” he said.

Sources in Southern Railway said they were sanctioned to construct just a pedestrian subway. “A portion of the work has already been completed. The remaining work can be completed only after the flyover is completed,” the source said.

Work on the three-metre high subway began in June 2010 and is expected to be completed by June 2013.

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