On Saturday the research organisation, residents and Councillor of ward 164 met up to arrive at a scheme for pedestrian-friendly roads

When Nanganallur resident V. Lakshman, a class VIII student of Rajkumar Sulochana Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Madipakkam, was given the option to make the road adjoining Pazhavanthangal railway station safe for pedestrians like him, his friends and he went down to the last detail and put it all on paper.

On Saturday, a project undertaken by Transparent Chennai — a research organisation housed within the Institute for Financial Management and Research — helped 40 residents and members of residents’ welfare associations in Nanganallur understand how an ideal footpath should be and then brainstorm to provide solutions to make their streets pedestrian friendly.

Councillor of ward 164, Parimala Nandakumar, was there to lend an ear.

The aim of the exercise, according to Transparent Chennai, is to come up with a scheme for pedestrian-friendly roads, involve residents in the plan and then submit the proposal to the area council/councillor in a month.

As some of the footpaths in the surveyed areas were laid recently, the final design could be used as an action plan for other roads, or when work is taken up on these roads next, said Kadambari Badami, researcher, Transparent Chennai.

The organisation held its first meeting with residents and the Traffic and Transportation Forum (TTF) on April 23. A month later, the members surveyed 4th, 5th, and 6 main roads, College Road, Station Road, Service Road and Vembuliamman Koil Street in Nanganallur.

What emerged out of Saturday’s community design workshop were suggestions on the width of pavements, earmarking space for vendors and positioning streetlights, among others.

Ms. Badami said for the road along the railway station, which is a narrow stretch and has no footpath, residents had asked for a 1.5-metre-wide footpath, and a 1-metre furniture zone along one side of the road.

For 5th main road, they have suggested 2.5 metre wide pedestrian path and a 2 metre-wide furniture zone to accommodate vendors and vehicles.

For one of the most challenging stretches, 4 Main Road, a bustling market area riddled with encroachments and obstructions, a 2.5-metre-wide pedestrian path along with a 1-metre frontage and 2-metre furniture zone were suggested.

B. Sridhar (65), one of the residents who worked on the plan for the stretch, said a footpath must be paved on the busy and congested road. “We have given our suggestions and hope they will be taken into account. The market road should either be made a two-way or one-way traffic must be strictly enforced,” he said.

V. Rama Rao, director, projects, TTF, who mobilised the community participation in Nanganallur, said consulting the stakeholders was the way forward. “We hope our suggestions will be accepted and implemented,” he said.

While Transparent Chennai has started with Nanganallur, the project is in various stages in K.K. Nagar and Anna Nagar West.

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