City turns a corner as CM inaugurates pedestrian plaza

After more than six years of planning and 18 months of construction works, the first pedestrian plaza was finally opened on Wednesday evening, with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami inaugurating it.
City turns a corner as CM inaugurates pedestrian plaza

Chennai

From Thursday, only vehicles entering from Anna Salai would be allowed into Thiyagaraya Road, those entering Panagal Park side have to take a detour. Speaking to the media, the Chief Minister said that the State government would take steps to convert other roads, too, into pedestrian plazas.
In addition to the plaza, Palaniswami also inaugurated 23 streets along the plaza that were renovated. With parking banned on the stretch, shop owners and shoppers could park their vehicles along these 23 smart streets. The pedestrian plaza was built with Rs 39.86 crore fund under Smart City Mission, while smart streets were developed at Rs 19.11 crore.
“The pedestrian plaza has been developed like an open mall, where the shoppers can also engage in recreational activities. We have provided seating facilities on the widened pavement and created several facilities for the children,” an official said.
Ducts have been laid for underground cables so that the road need not be dug for the next 30 years. Water lines and storm water drains have also been constructed keeping the same time frame in mind.
Chief Engineer (Special Projects) L Nandakumar said the civic body has decided to appoint contractors to maintain the plaza for the next five years. “Also, we will conduct regular meetings with shop owners to emphasise the upkeep of the facility. 
We have made arrangements to conduct music programmes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings,” he added. The civic body has also decided to convert more than 100 km of roads in city to facilitate non-motorised transport at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore.
Free Wi-Fi for visitors
The Corporation has erected Wi-Fi posts along the Thiyagaraya Road to offer free Wi-Fi facility to shoppers at the pedestrian plaza. “Usage per person is restricted to 45 minutes,” another official said. 
The civic body has also deployed battery-operated shuttle vehicles for elderly and disabled shoppers and provided a ‘freego’ vehicle (self-balancing scooter) for police personnel to make rounds. “To make the spot dynamic, we have requested the police to permit food courts to remain open till 1 am,” Nandakumar added.

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