Citizen Connect: Work on Pedestrian Plaza a dampener for shoppers on Thyagaraya Road
It is about 2 pm and a long line of vehicles queue up on Thyagaraya Road in T Nagar. Shoppers, regular commuters and pedestrians jostle for space on the road that has been reduced further on both sides, courtesy to the work under way for the Pedestrian Plaza, as part of the Chennai Smart City initiative.
Annie V, a shopper in Pondy Bazar, complained, “I stay close by and I come to the market almost every weekend. For the last two months, shopping here has become impossible. Especially over the weekends, it takes minimum of 20 minutes to even reach the shop from my home, which is barely a few streets away off the same road.”
Residents of the area said that the simultaneous work on stormwater drains has made it difficult for them to use the stretch. “They are trying to expand the platform and they are also coming up with two drains there. Both have thrown traffic out of gear in the area. We already have a huge problem with the traffic management in this area as it is a thickly populated commercial and residential area,” said VS Jayaraman from the T Nagar Residents Welfare Association.
Residents also pointed out that with the festival season coming up, the situation is going to worsen. “We have just 10 days for the Navaratiri festival and then we have Deepavali. The area is a hotspot during both festivals,” said another shopper, who added that he spent almost 30 minutes trying to make a U turn from
Anbu, an auto driver, who was haggling with commuters for an extra 10 rupees to drop them off on Gopathy Narayana Road nearby, said, “The ride is not more than 30 rupees but the extra 10 is for inching through the traffic. We are having a hard time explaining our hardships to the commuters, who complain about us overcharging. They have been doing their work for more than two months now and it has made traffic absolutely uncontrollable.”
Corporation officials maintained that efforts were being taken to ensure that the project was not inconveniencing the public. “It is part of the plaza project,” said the source
A source from the Chennai Smart City Limited said that the project is on schedule. “We have had some back and forth due to festival days in between. However, it is on track and will be completed on time,” said the source. It is slated to be completed by May next.
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