For 83-year-old V. Balasubramaniam of Dr. Ranga Road, Mylapore, walking on the footpath is a Herculean task. Electricity junction boxes and parked vehicles obstruct his daily walk to a nearby park and temple.
“How many times do I get on and off pavements due to the obstructions? So, I prefer walking on the road,” says the retired civil engineer. His day starts with a walk to Nageswara Rao park at 5.30 a.m. He returns home in an hour and then visits the Sai Baba temple at 9 a.m.
A walk along the road shows how a few houses have turned the pavements into their roadside gardens. Several shops have extended their businesses onto the footpath. There are also vehicles parked on the pavements. Electricity main switch boxes are another obstruction.
“This is why I never use footpaths. Those leading to the temple are fully encroached upon by shops and there is no space to walk,” he says.
Cars are parked on the roadside causing more hardships for pedestrians like him. “At 4 p.m. every day, I visit a temple on South Mada Street and again, I just walk on the road. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for each walk but the obstructions are innumerable,” he says. The height of pavements should be set right to make walking easy for senior citizens, he says.
With incessant rains, water stagnation on roads will aggravate the problem, he points out, adding the authorities should take action to repair potholes on the stretches.
(Contributed by Serena Josephine M.)
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Keywords: Right to Walk, My Chennai My Right, Chennai Corporation, The Hindu campaign, The Hindu's campaign, pedestrians, Chennai pavements, pavements in Chennai, pedestrian safety in Chennai, footpaths in Chennai, pedestrian experiences