Chennai: With the inauguration of the much-discussed T Nagar pedestrian plaza on Wednesday, the jam-packed busy bylanes of Pondy Bazaar with crowds thronging the forever buzzing shopping hub are all set to become a sight of the past. The pedestrian plaza will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Developed with the motive of promoting non-motorized transport and providing hassle-free commute to pedestrians, the plaza includes several impressive facilities. Apart from the generously spaced footpath, play area for children, seating arrangements for the shoppers, smart toilets and fancy streetlights, the plaza also boasts of vibrant paintings and mural arts on the walls along its length. The entire stretch has now come under extensive green cover and CCTV cameras have already been installed in various places to ensure a safe space for pedestrians.
However, in the past, the project had come under heavy criticism, with commuters arguing that the facility will worsen the traffic congestion in the already over-crowded area. To resolve this, the corporation has come up with a multi-level car parking facility, which is nearing completion.
This structure is estimated to accommodate 250 cars and 550 two-wheelers. “The car park will be ready for use in about two months time.”, confirmed G Prakash, Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation. In addition to this, 13 streets in the interiors (roughly 400 metres from the plaza) have been identified and work is underway to create alternate parking spaces in these roads. “We are considering
introducing electric vehicle transit from the metro stations to the pedestrian plaza”, he said. Meanwhile, officials have proposed changes to the two-way traffic along the Pondy Bazaar road. “The Panagal park-Thiyagaraya Nagar road will be made one way starting Wednesday,” informed the corporation commissioner.
As many shopkeepers and public have pointed out, the success of this project depends on its maintenance. Officials from the civic body too feel the need for proper maintenance of the space. “We will be handing over the maintenance of the pedestrian plaza to a suitable bidder, who will keep a check on encroachments and unauthorized vehicle parking while maintaining the cleanliness of the plaza.” says Mr Prakash. The civic body also hopes that this pedestrian plaza will turn out to be a major attraction for the city-goers and plans to organise events regularly at the plaza.
Similar projects have also been proposed in Velachery, Anna Nagar and Tondiarpet....