Focus will be on providing space for non-motorised transport

Commissionerate of Municipal Administration will soon take up development of cities other than Chennai in the State, said Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply, K. Phahindra Reddy, in Coimbatore on Thursday.

The development would be a midcourse correction aimed at improving non-motorised transport in the city corporations and town municipalities.

The Commissionerate would take the help of the Institute for Transportation and Policy Development in the course correction, just as it had done so for Chennai, where a departure had been made.

Mr. Reddy was speaking at the two-day conference on ‘Sustainable Cities Through Transport,’ organised by the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, Chennai, and the Institute.

There was an urgent need to improve non-motorised transport in the cities and towns because Tamil Nadu was the most urbanised State in the country.

It enjoyed the highest road network and the government’s spend on urban infrastructure development was almost twice that of the Union Government. Tamil Nadu’s progress did not stop there.

It was the first to go for a midcourse correction to reorient its priorities in urban development.

With the West as the role model, the State had taken up providing new roads and widening existing roads, constructing flyovers, road-over bridges, rail-under bridges and much more — almost all at the cost of pedestrian pathways.

The mistake in following the Western model was that they held personalised motor transport as a priority. Whereas in India the reliance was on cycling, walking, and public transport. There was an urgent need to go back to the old system as for long the country had compromised the space meant for non-motorised transport.

The State Government had made a beginning in Chennai by improving pedestrian pathways and constructing tracks for bicycles. It had also planned to improve the penetration of public transport system.

Corporation Commissioner G. Latha inaugurated the conference.

Earlier, Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor, Bogota, Colombia, spoke about his measures to improve the city.

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