The study reveals vehicular population and pedestrian density. It has been commissioned by the Highways Department as part of project to upgrade 3 arterial roads. The Highways Department has asked the consultant to focus on pedestrian facilities and safety in more locations as well.
Do you drive along Anna Salai every day to get to your work place? Then your vehicle is among the 1.83 lakh that use the arterial road on a weekday. In close competition with Anna Salai are Poonamallee High Road that is used by 1.70 lakh vehicles and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, which carries 1.85 lakh vehicles every weekday.
These statistics are the result of a traffic study by S.N. Bhobe & Associates, the Highways Department-appointed consultant, whose findings will help the department's initiative to upgrade the three arterial roads to international standards. During a recent meeting of senior officials, the company made a presentation about the progress of the study.
Importantly, the study looked at pedestrian crossings at 18 locations in the city and found that during peak hours, over 12,500 persons cross Poonamallee High Road near Central Station in an hour, 9,000 persons cross at Vadapalani, and 4,500 cross at Vijayanagar in Velachery. The Highways Department has asked the consultant to focus on pedestrian facilities and safety in more locations as well.
“We have suggested 20 more locations and also given different timings for CMBT, Central Station and Perungalathur and Tambaram bus stops. This will help us decide upon the kind of pedestrian facility required at those spots,” said a senior official.
The consultant has also been asked to provide different lane configurations for the carriageway, which is the area that has black tar topping. This is done based on traffic survey. “We have asked them to speed up the planning for Jawaharlal Nehru Salai as Metro Rail work is nearing completion,” said an official.
So far, the consultant, who has a total of nine months to complete its work, has finished collection of topographic details, studies on turning movement, origin and destination, slow versus fast vehicles, and accident data.
K. Parthiban, an autorickshaw driver from Adyar, who takes a passenger to Ashok Nagar daily, said traffic crawls on 100-Feet Road (Jawaharlal Nehru Salai). “There is a lot of dust and almost every stretch is a one-way on that road. Save for my regular customer, I mostly go on short trips. Five years ago, autorickshaws used to be able to nip into small gaps in the traffic and drive on. But now even ambulances get stuck, which is a very unfortunate situation,” he said.
A senior urban planner said the Metro Rail and a dedicated lane for a BRTS corridor would aid the cause of public transportation. “The growth of vehicles would be controlled. When public transportation improves, the 10 per cent growth rate would come down.”
However a retired traffic planner who has worked on government infrastructure projects in the city said that unless there is a guarantee that the design of the Highways would be replicated elsewhere, these three roads would remain a model. “What is required is course correction in codes of practice. The Chennai Corporation is also upgrading 30 roads. But they would follow different codes and there would be a different consultant with a different set of ideas. As an outsider, I would look for uniformity and an identity for the city. Take the simple matter of signages in the city — the corporation and highways have different boards. There has to be a change in the mindset of officials and engineers,” he said.