It is becoming increasingly difficult for vehicle users and pedestrians to access the road linking the Velachery Railway Station because of traffic congestion and encroachments by hawkers and traders.
The railway station has been drawing huge traffic from various parts of Velachery and from the nearby suburbs including Madipakkam, Ullagaram-Puzhuthivakkam, Adambakkam and Pallikaranai. Though the Highways Department has developed two separate roads under the Velachery Bridge linking the railway station, one side of the road has been fully occupied by shopkeepers and encroachers causing hardship to the commuters.
The numerous shops, which have mushroomed along the Annai Indira Gandhi Nagar, and the hawkers have occupied a portion of the road leaving little space for pedestrians. With the footpath encroached, pedestrians have to compete with the vehicles to use the carriageway of the road, posing danger to the walkers.
O.M. Mohan, a resident of Madipakkam, said the road has become busy round the clock because of the good patronage gained by the train services on the Mass Rapid Transit Service system. But commuters, particularly pedestrians, are facing difficulties because of the hawkers occupying the pavement of the road. The numerous shops lining the road too exhibit their wares and put up display boards, inconveniencing walkers.
The Highways Department, which has to take steps to remove these encroachments, has failed to come to the rescue of the pedestrians, he alleged.
R. Hanumanth, a regular commuter from Velachery, wants these encroachments to be removed in the initial stage itself before they become permanent fixtures. The commuter cited how the railway administration faced difficulties in removing the hawkers who, having occupied the access way on both sides of the road at the Park Railway Station, have become a menace for the commuters. “Once these hawkers gain a foothold, they cannot be removed from the spot by the officials of the Highways Department as these hawkers would be seeking compensation and alternative site for carrying on their business,” he said.
During the evening rush hour, the problem gets even worse at the link road near the Velachery station when the roadside eateries and hawkers start functioning, completely choking traffic on the road. Adding to the chaos is the parking of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses and other private vehicles, which further reduces the road space for vehicles.
As the link road is also the access road for the residential colonies like VGP Selva Nagar, Nathan Avenue and the DAV Public School, it is congested throughout the day.
An official of the Highways Department said that they have not received any complaints from the public about encroachment and that they would take steps to remove the hawkers when they receive complaints.
Hawkers and traders make life hell for commuters.