The new Police Commissionerate at EVK Sampath Salai has brought a mixed bag: enhanced security and traffic chaos. Liffy Thomas reports
E.V.K. Sampath Salai, Vepery, has got a new landmark and a new problem too. With the Chennai City Police Commissionerate shifting to its swanky new office here about a month ago, the stretch is now grappling with chaotic traffic.
Much of the congestion starts from Gate 2 of the Commissionerate, which is the entry point for the public. Though there is a provision for visitors to park their vehicles inside the office, many vehicles are haphazardly parked on the main road.
Opposite Gate 2 is Agarwal Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School. Nearly 40 autorickshaw drivers ferrying students to and from the school, park on the main road compounding the problem. Parents bring in their two and four-wheelers, making matters worse.
“School staff and autorickshaw drivers help regulate the traffic, but this is not sufficient. Without a long-term arrangement such as shifting the entrance to the office to the other side, the traffic situation is going to worsen in the days to come,” says P.V. Subbalakshmi, principal of the school. The school has a strength of nearly 2,000 students.
The profile of EVK Sampath Salai has been changing for some time now. Many independent houses have given way to multi-storeyed apartments and many commercial offices have opened in the area. Parking is already an issue for old buildings.
From fruit and vegetable vendors to tailors, much of the footpaths have been encroached. A few months ago, residents of a few apartment complexes had sent letters to various government departments requesting more speed breakers on the road. At present, there is only one speed breaker from Vepery signal to the police station junction.
“It is very difficult to cross the road as there is no zebra crossing and vehicles parked along the road block our view,” says M. Jayakumar, supervisor at the Swapna Lok Apartments.
Many MTC buses now take this stretch. “For years, 37E was the only bus that passed through this stretch. Now, with the Metro Rail work going on, most buses to Central take this route,” says R. Ravi, an employee in one of the apartments.
The Commissionerate on an average receives over 400 visitors a day. However, officials from the police department say they have adequate parking space for visitors and its staff.