Pedestrians are at risk on roads with no police personnel and absence of zebra crossings, writes L. Srikrishna

Speeding vehicles at many thoroughfares, lack of police personnel and absence of zebra crossings pose untold hardships to pedestrians in crossing the roads.

“How do I cross the road…that too safely,” is a question widely asked by pedestrians?

Be it the integrated bus stand at Maatuthavani or Periyar Bus stand or Goripalayam (Thevar statue round about), the problem is the same, pedestrians claim.

Though there are various factors attributed by the public, poor coordination of traffic signals and absence of clear space for pedestrian crossings add to the problem.

With growing vehicle population, the authorities have forgotten the pedestrians.

Even walkways are not spared as they are encroached by road side vendors and beggars. Pedestrians are forced to use the roads, which is high risk.

The other day, a senior citizen couple waited for over 15 minutes to cross the road on Alagarkoil Road, near Tallakulam, but in vain. “We purchased some items in a shop near Karuppanasami Temple. We wanted to go to the opposite side to visit a temple,” Ramachandran, a retired government employee from Surveyor Colony said. I personally requested a traffic police to help us cross the road… only then it was possible. It was a nightmarish experience for us,” he added.

Another major intersection, where pedestrians find it tough to cross the road is Periyar bus stand -shopping complex area.

Be it peak hour or non-peak hour, it is unsafe to cross. Though vehicles moved in one direction from TPK road side to Periyar bus stand, they never stopped for pedestrians to cross, a professor of Madurai Kamaraj University said. “Only when there is no movement of vehicles, we can cross safely, otherwise it is impossible to reach the other end,” he maintained.

Subways

Pedestrians suggested establishing sub-ways to cross busy roads such as Periyar bus stand, Shopping complex, St. Mary's Church, Goripalayam and Maatuthavani, Arapalayam-Arasaradi-Kalavasal junction areas.

However, traffic police officers pointed out that the sub-way near Government Rajaji Hospital is not being used and rather it was misused. Similarly, they pointed out that the foot-over-bridge at Periyar bus stand is also not used by the pedestrians.

They admitted that absence of automatic signals on the Periyar bus stand caused difficulties to pedestrians. They stated lack of strength in the traffic wing as a reason for the absence of police personnel.

When contacted, Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian said that as a first step, zebra crossings would be visibly laid on vantage points for pedestrians in the city soon.

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