Basic facilities for pedestrians such as footpaths and subways continue to remain woefully inadequate on arterial roads amid the growing emphasis on creating grade separators on Anna Salai to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

For people like V.R. Kumar, who works in a bank on Anna Salai, walking along the road is an impossible task as platforms are either too narrow or non-existent.

“Footpaths in front of certain commercial complexes are used to park two-wheelers. Near the Thousand Lights subway, garbage from the nearby stalls is openly dumped,” he said.

V.R. Varadarajan, a senior citizen, said pedestrian footpaths at some places in Royapettah were just a foot wide.

“Government agencies take up construction of flyovers and road-widening projects. But they are only for the sake of vehicles. Pedestrians are forgotten,” he said.

“Zebra crossing markings have simply vanished in many places. Motorists also no longer have the culture of waiting for pedestrians to cross the road,” he added.

With sewage lines, TNEB and telephone boxes and even stormwater drains running beneath, the footpaths are the first casualty when repair work has to be carried on the utilities.

A senior citizen residing in K.K. Nagar said that though the Corporation had developed beautiful parks, walking to such green spaces was a nightmare, with dug up roads and lack of proper footpaths.

Relaying put on hold

Sources in Chennai Corporation said the civic body had put on hold relaying of footpaths as construction of stormwater drains under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is to be taken up across the city.

However, initiatives such as footpaths with blind strips developed by the Corporation, the slip-free footpaths on the Marina and a model footpath proposed by Chennai City Connect on Lattice Bridge Road in Adyar show a glimpse of what is possible at a minimal cost.

According to Raj Cherubal, coordinator of Chennai City Connect, the model footpath on LB Road would be ready in a month's time. “In order to prevent footpaths from being dug up, we have provided a two-foot utility strip where wires and traffic junction boxes would be installed. Special amenities to aid the differently-abled will also be provided,” he said.

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