New foot overbridge at Park station is largely unused; most users run across tracks
A recently-built foot overbridge that connects Poonamallee High Road and Chintadripet seems to be in vain as commuters wantonly cross the tracks and put themselves at risk by using a small hole in a wall to emerge amidst heavy traffic. The overbridge, located opposite Ripon Buildings, was constructed after the old one, located a few metres away, became unusable. The new bridge was constructed for the benefit of not just the suburban train users but also those commuters who want to reach Central station from Chintadripet.
Many commuters have taken to rushing across the tracks and exiting through the hole in the wall instead of climbing the stairs. On Sunday afternoon, Lakshmi Ponnusamy (name changed) squeezed through the hole and hurriedly walked out of the station to the nearby bus stop. “By the time, I take the bridge and reach the bus stop, the bus will have long gone. It is not as if I am the only one doing this anyway; when we cross the track as a bunch, we won’t be run over by a train,” she said in justification.
Other commuters said that they had never used even the old foot overbridge, which was closed recently, as it had become a haunt for anti-social elements.
“I rarely used the bridge anyway because there would be a group of men drinking there even during day time. It was only when I was with my children that I took the stairs, ” said S. Jaya, 30, who takes a train to her workplace in Nungambakkam from Park station everyday.
Only a handful of people take the bridge regularly and do so, obviously, for safety reasons. S. Gopi, 31, a businessman, who has been travelling for the last 18 years from Ennore to Chintadripet makes it a point to dutifully use the foot overbridge. “I can’t put myself through the risky process of crossing the tracks and coming out through a hole. It just takes a few more minutes when we climb the stairs; so, I don’t understand why people mindlessly indulge in such unsafe methods,” he added.
Ironically, Railways officials said that the new overbridge is yet to be formally opened and till then, ideally, should not be used. They also were not able to suggest any other options for commuters.