Residents are totally at the mercy of vehicle drivers.
On an assignment to take a look at the traffic condition on South Boag Road, T. Nagar, (after the Mount Road traffic was diverted for the Chennai Metro Rail work,) The Hindu Downtown got a first hand experience of the plight of the people living in the area. Anxious residents poured out their grievances. It was a 10-minute wait to cross to the other side of the 20-feet wide road to a residential apartment. And it was not during the peak hour!
At anytime during the day, the continuous flow of traffic on South Boag Road makes it extremely difficult for pedestrians to cross to the other side. With many schools in the vicinity, residents feel that steps should be taken by the Government and the police before any major mishap happens.
M. Subramanium, a resident of the area, says that the situation becomes worse during peak hours — both in the morning and the evening — as it takes a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes to cross the road. “Even after the long wait, there is no let-up in the vehicle flow. Tired of waiting, we risk our lives in an attempt to cross, gesturing to the drivers to let us pass.”
While young people can run across, it is a problem for the elderly and children . With no arrangements made before the traffic diversion, residents want immediate remedial measures.
“Before diverting the traffic, the Government and the traffic department should have thought about the impact it would have on Boag Road and come up with a solution. Unlike Mount Road, where there are many traffic signals and pedestrian crossings, South Boag Road has none. The traffic department should have taken measures to control the traffic flow,” says R. Mohan, secretary, Sangeetha Apartments Owners’ Welfare Association.
The residents also complain about the apathy of the drivers. “Drivers are only bothered about rushing to their destinations. They drive at a break-neck speed and care little about pedestrians,” says P. Mukerjee.
There is also the problem of motorcycles and autos coming in from the opposite direction on the one-way stretch. “With the absence of traffic police in the vicinity, motorcycles and autos have been flouting norms. We already have trouble crossing with one-way traffic, now we have to be very careful not to be hit by vehicles coming from the opposite direction,” says Mr. Subramanium.
Appeals to the police have only brought assurances and no action. “We requested the police to put speed breakers on South Boag Road so that vehicles slow down enabling us to cross, but they said it would not be possible,” said Mr. Mohan.
With South Boag Road becoming an alternative to Mount Road, it won’t be long before the surface gives way under pressure from such heavy traffic movement. This issue was not addressed before diverting traffic, the residents said.
“We understand that the present generation has to make some sacrifices for the betterment of the future generations, but development should not hinder everyday life of people,” says Mr. Subramanium.
The residents have demanded presence of traffic policemen during peak hours on important link roads such as Melody Road and Thomas Road, traffic signals, pedestrian crossing at least in three places on this two-and-a-half km long road and speed breakers.