The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has directed its project consultants to evolve an architecture-cum-engineering plan, specific to each of the 32 proposed stations, to develop the neighbourhood in their vicinity into usable public spaces.

Tree lined walkways, adequate seating space, dedicated parking areas and well designed commercial kiosks are part of the plan.

The ‘terms of reference' of the individual station-level plans would be based on a broad template evolved by Chennai City Connect, an NGO working on transportation issues, which did a study on developing a model metro station at Vadapalani.

Focussing on a 500-600 metre circle of influence around the proposed Vadapalani metro station, the study recommended relocating existing bus shelters, a high frequency bus feeder system within a 5-km radius, and adequate cross-over facilities for the over 1,000 pedestrians, who cross the Vadapalani junction every hour. It also identified land for additional parking.

CMRL Managing Director K. Rajaraman said that the station-level plans would be given to the Highways Department and the Chennai Corporation for implementation.

“We are also working on a multi-modal integration plan. It would involve the MTC, Tata Magic vehicles and autorickshaws. Some kind of complementarity in service will be evolved,” he said. He added that common ticketing would be implemented in a phased manner to encourage seamless transition between various modes.

Explaining the idea behind the model metro station study, Raj Cherubal of Chennai City Connect said, “We basically wanted to show that just by erecting a metro station, you are not going to achieve anything.”

He said that since most of those who come to a metro station are going to walk, “if associated facilities are not good, the attraction of a metro will be lost.”

Mr.Cherubal added that CMRL must work on making the zone around its stations porous by negotiating with nearby offices and commercial complexes for adequate space to provide additional access points.