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T. Nagar residents unable to cope with commercialisation

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JOSTLING FOR SPACE: A view of Ramanathan Street off Usman Road in T. Nagar, where pedestrians are seen manoeuvring through parked vehicles.
JOSTLING FOR SPACE: A view of Ramanathan Street off Usman Road in T. Nagar, where pedestrians are seen manoeuvring through parked vehicles.

Meera Srinivasan

Area around South Usman Road is one of the major casualties

CHENNAI: Decades ago, residents purchased a home in the locality for sheer quietness that prevailed in T.Nagar. Today they are a helpless lot, unable to cope with rapid commercialisation of the locality.

The area around South Usman Road, in particular, is one of the major casualties. Nithya has been a resident of Sarojini Street for two decades. “We often find vehicles parked right outside our gate. We would have to go out and tell the drivers to clear the entrance,” she says. With a travels service provider operating from the street, residents have to put up with cars and vans parked on either side of the street.

N. Ramanujam, also a Sarojini Street resident, says that every time a truck used the stretch, there would be a massive traffic jam and consequent honking.

The advocate also points to the concrete road, which is slightly elevated when compared to entrances of most of the houses.

“A few years ago, this road had black topping. But after the concrete road was laid, we are having great difficulty during the monsoon, as all the water flows into our compound.”

Residents also point to autorickshaw menace in these lanes. “Many of them wait here till they find a customer,” says a resident of Motilal Street.

Parking woes

Since a majority of commercial establishments along South Usman Road do not provide parking space, customers leave their vehicles on Mahalakshmi Street, Motilal Street, Sarojini Street, Ramaswamy Street or Venkatesan Street, all off Dhandapani Street, connecting to South Usman Road on the other side.

Even a decade ago, these lanes and the nearby Pinjala Subramanian Street wore a primarily residential look, with a canopy of trees and roads without haphazardly parked vehicles. But, the character of the locality has changed now, to resemble that of the nearby commercial space.

The plight of residents on the other side of Usman Road is no better. Residents of Mangesh Street, Rangan Street and Ramanathan Street have a huge list of problems facing them.

Mangesh Street, for instance, battles unauthorised parking of vehicles, almost no pavement space for pedestrians and improper garbage disposal by a few commercial entities on the street and some passers-by using the road margin near a women’s hostel as a public urinal.

According to a member of the Mangesh Street Residents’ Welfare Association, it has even taken up several issues legally.

“The service lane beneath the flyover, which our Street leads to, is yet to be opened to traffic. We are forced take a circuitous route. We are also going to file a writ petition seeking removal of unauthorised shops,” he said.

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