CHENNAI: For many shopping in T. Nagar, parking their vehicles is a great challenge. Most textiles, jewellery and other shops in Panagal Park and along Usman Road do not have a parking lot, or their parking area cannot accommodate more than a few vehicles at a time.
V. Sridhar, making a purchase in a textile showroom on South Usman Road, says he could not shop in peace due to the fear of his vehicle being towed away by the Traffic Police.
“Except for a few private parking lots in the streets off South Usman Road, there are no authorised parking spaces in the area,” he adds. Following the commissioning of the flyover on Usman Road, parking vehicles in Ramanathan Street was ruled out due to the narrow service lane.
Demand for parking space
The Wilbur Smith Associates Private Limited undertook a study in 2003 titled ‘Study on Parking Requirements for Chennai Metropolitan Area’ for the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).
The study states that T. Nagar, an important commercial centre having a retail market for textile and jewellery, ranks second, next to Parry’s/George Town in terms of demand for parking space. While the peak parking demand in Parry’s/George Town is 4426 Parking Car Equivalents (PCE), T. Nagar has a peak parking demand of 2151 PCE, it points out.
This demand can hardly be met by the grossly insufficient parking lots available currently, say commuters. With South Usman Road and Ranganathan Street attracting thousands of customers daily, all the neighbouring streets such as Ramaswamy Street, Mahalakshmi Street, Natesan Street, Ramanathan Street and Motilal Street, are clogged with parked vehicles, some, even in front of ‘No Parking’ sign boards.
The study also ranks T. Nagar above Parry’s in the identification and prioritisation of critical areas having parking problem in the city based on five factors: peak parking demand, shortage of parking space, characteristic of parking turnover, loss in road capacity and the growth characteristic of the area. It states that the road capacity in terms of road width has been reduced by about 35-50 per cent due to on-street parking.
P.V. Krishnan, who runs a construction company in T. Nagar, says: “Bringing a car to T. Nagar, particularly for shopping in South Usman Road, is completely ruled out. The multi-storeyed showrooms have clearly not provided adequate parking space.”
Parking under the flyover
Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni says the Traffic Police is looking into whether the space under the flyover could be allotted for parking or converted into a park. “We are studying the feasibility of converting the space beneath the flyovers into a parking lot. A decision will be taken soon,” said Sunil Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic).