Who stole my pavement? Egmore’s Pantheon Road rife with encroachments, illegal parking

Pantheon Road in Egmore is an example of what is both right and wrong with the pavement infrastructure in the city. Sections of the road have perfectly laid, usable pavements with bollards to prevent parking and encroachment and it allows those who use the road to navigate safely.
Who stole my pavement? Egmore’s Pantheon Road rife with encroachments, illegal parking
Anything from illegally parked vehicles to clothes can be found on the pavements

Chennai

Pantheon Road in Egmore is an example of what is both right and wrong with the pavement infrastructure in the city. Sections of the road have perfectly laid, usable pavements with bollards to prevent parking and encroachment and it allows those who use the road to navigate safely. On the other hand, most of the road is rife with encroachments, illegal parking and debris strewn on footpaths. 
The road connects Greams Road and Gandhi-Irwin Road and is home to hotels, Government offices, schools, banks and hospitals. It sees heavy footfall and also two-way traffic throughout the day. It is vital for pedestrians to be able to navigate the road without endangering themselves and others as a result of lack of pavements or their improper use. 
Closer to Greams Road, parts of the road have been occupied by shops outside the Co-optex showroom and Cotton Street. Those looking to shop here have to dodge vehicles on the road due to the unserviceable footpaths. 
Further along is a study in contrast as the stretch right outside the Government Museum has usable, wide footpaths that many passes by during the day. There are also bollards that guard against illegal parking. 
Past this perfect section of the road is chaos right outside the Government Maternity Hospital. With many walking in and out of the hospital and a bus stop situated near the entrance, this is a vital area that needs functioning pavements for safety. But this stretch, near a flyover, is worst affected by encroachments. Petty shops and vendors selling clothes have taken over the section completely, cutting off access to the footpath. 
“It has been very difficult to use the road in this part. Many people come to the hospital during the day and they cannot access the pavements. The vendors refuse to set up shop elsewhere and it is a huge inconvenience for those who pass by this way on foot. Not to mention the danger involved as buses stop here and vehicles descend from the flyover as well,” said Anitha who uses the road regularly. 
The section after the hospital remains unencroached and free to use. This applies to the opposite side of the road near Hotel Ashoka that has navigable pavements, but the situation gets worse closer to the shopping hubs of Alsa Mall and Fountain Plaza. 
Throughout the road, there are instances of illegal parking of cars, autos and two-wheelers, which pose danger for pedestrians. Some buildings that are under construction have also left debris on the pavement. 
“Some parts of the road are the best example of pedestrian infrastructure done right. But the rest is like any other street in Chennai that has no consideration for those who use them on foot,” said Shahid, a resident near Don Bosco school.  
—If you have been robbed  of your pavement, write to us.  Send us a note and a picture, and we will carry it in this column. Email us at  citizen.dtnext@dt.co.in

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