After a delay of five years, the Chennai Corporation commenced work on the ₹33.80-crore pedestrian plaza at T. Nagar on Monday.
The civic body received the final design of the plaza from the architects of the project in 2013, following a meeting of the sub-committee on non-motorised transport of the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority.
“The design of the plaza has changed, with more detailing and introduction of colour. The colour varies as you walk down the road from Panagal Park. The colour changes from yellow to orange to red to maroon to violet,” said Aswathy Dilip, senior programme manager, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.
Earlier, only buses were proposed to be permitted along the stretch. Now, the civic body plans to permit motorcycles too. The proposal for a cycle track has been replaced with a plan to introduce battery-operated cars, officials say.
Traders have shed their apprehensions after the Corporation agreed to loading and unloading along the stretch at night. The parking problem has been taken care of with the proposal for a multi-level car parking lot, said an official.
The pedestrian plaza will cover 1,450 m of Thyagaraya Road from Bashyam Road near Panagal Park to Anna Salai. The entire stretch has been divided into three stretches with different identities. In the 730-m stretch from Panagal Park to the Thanikachalam Road junction, pedestrians will have space with 12 metre width. MTC buses and motorcycles will be allowed in a 7-metre carriageway.
All types of vehicles will be allowed on the 370-m stretch from Thanikachalam Road to the Boag Road junction. “The pedestrian plaza will be just 3.5 m wide on this stretch. Carriageway will be wider with 15 m,” said an official.
All vehicles will be permitted on the 350-m stretch between the Boag Road junction to the Anna Salai junction. Persons with disabilities will have access to the facility. The plaza will have space for seating, smart toilet and a children’s play area and emerge as a busy intersection of art and commerce. “There is scope for a lot of activity for children. The pedestrian plaza is expected to double sales for shops,” said Nashwa Naushad, associate with ITDP.
Minister for Municipal Administration S.P. Velumani inaugurated the project in the presence of Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar and Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan on Monday. “The work will be completed in a year,” said a civic official.