Residents of Besant Nagar, who were very happy with their wide footpaths, are now wondering if the pedestrian facility is a blessing or a curse.
They fight for space to walk safely amidst the hawkers and vehicles parked on the footpaths.
D. Lavanya, a resident of Kalakshetra Colony, says, on the Friends of Chennai website, that pedestrians are forced to walk on the carriageway.
“It is dangerous, especially since the roads are narrow. Spaces in front of banks, shops and supermarkets are occupied by vehicles. Sometimes, there are large cars blocking the entire footpath,” she says.
Though the police remove the obstructions from time to time, they keep coming back, she says.
G. Ramakrishnan, a morning walker in Besant Nagar, says the police are active only on the weekends. “As the roads are narrow, many motorists park their vehicles on the footpaths. The Corporation has earmarked place for vehicles in many areas, but motorists park wherever they find space. The Corporation should meter parking to avoid misuse of pedestrian facilities,” he says.
In other parts of the city too, where there are wide footpaths, motorists ride on them, says R. Govindarajan of Exnora International.
“Many bikers ride on the footpath on Haddows Road, especially in the evenings. It is very dangerous for pedestrians,” he says.
The traffic police say the markings for vehicle parking in Besant Nagar need to be improved. “On one road, parking lots have been marked on both sides. The Corporation needs to revise them. We impose fines on illegally-parked vehicles but they keep coming back,” an officer says.