As the heat wave sets in, an exodus to the airy beaches becomes an evening routine. But ancillary facilities such as parking and sanitation remain a big challenge for the thousands frequenting the beach.
S. Sadasivam, who regularly visits the beach with his friends, says: “Parking facilities are thoroughly inadequate. Some of the playgrounds and college grounds just across the road from the Marina beach service lane could be opened up for parking to ease the pressure here.”
Since there are only a few approaches to the service lane, he said parking could easily be regulated. “Only a certain number of vehicles must be allowed into the lane. Congestion on the service lane destroys the ambience of the beach.”
Apart from lack of adequate space, haphazard parking is also a major issue. “I sit right here inside my car on the service road, but never get a chance to go to the beach,” says P. Vinod, driver of a private taxi. “If I leave even for a few minutes, someone else will park their vehicle, blocking my exit.” Not much attention is given to the hygiene and sanitation levels at the innumerable stalls that have mushroomed along the beach, says A. Sudharshan, one of the stall owners. “No inspection is ever made. Every stall owner just pays Rs.20 every week to the ‘sangam' and everything is taken care of.”
Admitting that parking has become an unmanageable problem, a Corporation official said: “The number of floating vehicles shoots up during the summer months. Some kind of coordinated strategy has to be evolved to utilise the empty parking spaces available on the western side of Kamarajar Salai.”
With regard to issues of health and sanitation, he said: “The number of stalls on the beach must first be reduced. They must be streamlined through some kind of token system so that monitoring and inspection can be made simpler.”
He added that though the Marina was being projected as a model beach, too much political interference has led to a mushrooming of shops and things had become difficult to control.