CHENNAI: Though most of the residents have welcomed the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s (CMDA) notification to widen 422 streets in two Corporation limits, stakeholders, including activists, have urged for proper planning before implementing the project.
CMDA, with the list of street names and proposed alignment for street widening, issued a notification recently. In the names listed, a high number of streets planned for widening were under the Tambaram and Chennai Corporations.
Speaking to DT Next, A Sathik Basha, a social activist and resident of Medavakkam said, “Due to Metro rail and storm water drain construction works, the condition of the roads have worsened everywhere. Additionally, due to this, the road space has also greatly reduced. Hence CMDA’s plan to widen the roads is welcomed.”
However, Sathik insisted on proper planning before implementing the project. “We request the department to ensure proper planning before starting the project. All three departments; CMDA, Tambaram Corporation and Tambaram police should work together for the project to be successful as promised in the paper,” he added.
Sathik also pointed out that lack of planning or coordination between departments will only end up causing more trouble to the public, in one way or the other.
Meanwhile, Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) who specialises on road safety and its sustainable use called the road widening project to be a dead-end exercise. “Primarily, the reason to widen the roads is to accommodate traffic. If the roads are widened, of course there is a free flow of traffic, but also increasing the traffic capacity overall, in just a matter of years.”
“Additionally, as most of these areas are developed, the only way to widen the roads is to remove the footpaths. In that case, pedestrians will be forced to walk on the road, ultimately causing issues and solving none,” added Sumana.
Hence, instead of widening, Sumana suggested to reduce the quantum of traffic by providing better transport, better connectivity within different modes of transportations, better footpaths, cycle lanes and other facilities for the public.
Likewise, TS Vimal, resident of Hastinapuram also expressed concern for road widening. "Though road widening can ease up the traffic. It may also directly and in-directly affect residents and commuters of the area. Firstly, steps should be taken to identify and remove encroachments, before widening."
Meanwhile, the CMDA in its notification has also urged the public to inspect the streets listed in the notification along with encouraging the public to submit their suggestion or objection within 21 days, starting November 11.