Chennai

Revisiting K.B. Dasan Road

A concrete ramp on Kavignar Bharathidasan Road that was created around five years ago to enable people in wheelchairs to access a section of the pavement on the road.

A concrete ramp on Kavignar Bharathidasan Road that was created around five years ago to enable people in wheelchairs to access a section of the pavement on the road.   | Photo Credit: Prince Frederick

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Greater Chennai Corporation launched an ambitious project around five years ago to make K.B. Dasan Road in Teynampet a model road in terms of providing access to persons with disabilities.

The pavements on the busy road was made accessible, largely with concrete ramps and a few other features, but today there is little to tell between the pavement on this road, and those of most other roads in Chennai.

In 2015, disability rights activists, corporates, NGOs along with the Corporation rallied for some months to make the stretch free of encroachments. Wheelchair persons were made to test the ramp-design to see if it met accessibility standards.

A minor stone ramp was created around five years ago to enable people in wheelchairs to access a section of the pavement on the road.

A minor stone ramp was created around five years ago to enable people in wheelchairs to access a section of the pavement on the road.   | Photo Credit: Prince Frederick

Obstacles on the pavements were removed, so that a wheel chair could move freely. Door-to-door campaigns were conducted and shopkeepers were sensitised.

“At busy hours, you will see vehicles of patients coming to a hospital parked on the pavement. At night, residents use the space to park their vehicles. Sometimes it is difficult for a pedestrian to find space on the footpath,” says Smita Sadasivan, member of Disability Right Alliance (DRA) which was part of the campaign.

Disabled-friendly pavements were also created at some other arterial roads as part of the project.

Smita says it’s difficult to keep the momentum of such disabled-friendly projects going without the support of those residents and others who frequent these spaces.

Residents’ groups must monitor the place and alert the Chennai Corporation whenever they see any encroachments sprouting up or it will become an exercise in futility, she says.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:13:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/what-happened-to-disabled-friendly-pavements-at-kb-dasan-road/article30123783.ece

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