Barely seconds after the train rolls into the Park Town MRTS station at 6.30 p.m., Nagaraj Subbiah squeezes out of the oppressively crowded compartment.
Clutching his bag, he manages to slice through the thick crowd on the station’s pavement, dashes up the stairs and runs the whole way along Stanley viaduct, which opens out onto Poonamallee High Road.
He is one of the about five hundred people who emerge from the station at that time, on their way to Central station or Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital, or any of the other important landmarks that dot the busy road.
With the station being provided a subway which only leads to the Park suburban station, the passengers have to walk almost on the busy road, navigating the heavy traffic, as the three-foot wide pavement along the viaduct cannot bear up to the footfall.
Mr. Subbiah works as a technician in the city and has to take the 6.55 p.m. suburban train to reach his residence at Gummidipoondi, about 45 km away. “I don’t really have a choice, as I have to catch the train at Central,” he says.
One of the sub-inspectors manning the pedestrian crossing in front of Central says, “There is a subway to cross the Poonamallee High Road, but it just cannot handle the number of people having to cross it.”
Another traffic policeman says the Metro Rail works have compounded traffic management issues on this road.
The State Highways Department, which maintains Poonamallee High Road, had proposed to construct a skywalk for pedestrian movement near the Central station, extending from Park station to Madras Medical College, more than three years ago.
A source in the department says that changes are being considered to the proposal.
According to a senior Corporation official, the civic body is not authorised to initiate projects for the road, given that it comes under the State Highways Department.
(Additional reporting by Deepa H. Ramakrishnan)