Residents of Chromepet are unhappy with the barricades across the pedestrian crossing connecting the bus stop and railway station.
They say that the structures, placed by the Traffic police, prevent the easy access to pedestrians.
As part of steps to improve road safety and also to ensure free flow of traffic, policemen placed barricades across this pedestrian crossing, the shortest link from the bus stop to the railway station. As per the new arrangement, commuters getting down at the railway station have to walk an additional 50 metres towards the intersection of Grand Southern Trunk Road and CLC Works Road, where there is another pedestrian crossing with a traffic signal along with a timer and walk back the same distance to reach the bus stop.
A section of residents took part in a signature campaign to protest this move at the bus stop on Friday evening. “This (pedestrian crossing) has been the principal access from the bus stop to the railway station all along,” said S.Narasimhan, a former 3-time Pallavaram Municipal councillor of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
He recalled that the barricades placed by the traffic police at the same spot two years ago were removed after public outcry.
Traffic and law and order policemen defended the initiative stating that within a distance of less than 300 metres, there were three pedestrian crossings on GST Road in Chromepet – at the CLC Works Road intersection, opposite the railway station and at New Colony.
There were signals with timers at CLC Works Road and at New Colony and hence they decided to close the pedestrian crossing opposite the station. It was done with the sole objective of ensuring safety of pedestrians. They had provided a dedicated lane for pedestrians on the western side of GST Road, the policemen pointed out.
Autorickshaw drivers said ever since the barricades were placed, women, senior citizens and the differently-abled were affected.
Mr. Narasimhan recalled that former Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi had laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 2.4 crore project of National Highways Authority of India in 2008. This project involves construction of a foot overbridge along with escalators for easy access to the railway station across the GST Road. He urged the revival of the project.