Chennai Metro Rail footpaths to get wider for the benefit of Commuters

Stretches along rail route will have wide footpaths which will greatly benefit senior citizens and physically challenged.  Also in the making are Underground and Elevated Stations Disabled-Friendly

Chennai: Stretches along the Metro Rail route will have wide uninterrupted footpaths, which will greatly benefit senior citizens and persons with physical disability.

Following suggestions from the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority’s sub-committee on infrastructure and non-motorised transport, the Chennai Corporation has asked the Highways to conduct a thorough study on identifying the ‘missing links’ in the footpaths of Jawaharlal Nehru Salai along the Metro Rail alignment.

Other stretches, those found on 471 bus routes, will have similar facilities once work on laying wider footpaths along the Jawaharlal Nehru Salai is completed.

New footpath design

Chennai Metro footpath“Over 60 per cent of pedestrians walk in the carriageway, block vehicular movement. In the new footpath design that is being finalised by architects, the footpaths are nearly 2.5 metres wide,” said a metro official.

The Highways Research Station and NGOs will assist the civic body and the Highways in implementing the project.

“A survey of eight roads – Mayor Ramanathan Salai, Egmore High Road, Rukmani Lakshmipathi Salai, Adithanar Salai, Langs Garden Road, Gandhi Irwin Bridge Road, Dams Road and Binny Road – that lead to the Egmore Railway Station has been conducted to improve the pavements there.

The Corporation will soon float bids for construction of footpaths there,” the official said.

The Corporation has also planned to hand over 26 footpaths to CREDAI for maintenance. CREDAI will replace the broken bollards on these footpaths.

“Another case in point is the recurrent damage to bollards is a challenge. Many new bollards on footpaths along Pantheon Road and Greams Road have been damaged,” said an official.

Modern zebra crossings with coloured thermoplastic reflective paint will be in place on 194 bus routes.

The civic body has identified an alternative design for pedestrian facilities on narrow roads.

Interlocking pavements

Owing to a lack of space for the pedestrians on most of the 343 roads near the Metro stations, the Chennai Corporation has decided to form interlocking pavements that will facilitate sharing of space by pedestrians as well as vehicles.

Work on creating a pedestrian infrastructure for a heritage walk in Mylapore has been delayed for long.

It is due to a request by the police department for a wider carriageway. Work on this project will begin soon.

The Chennai Corporation has been slowly trying to make footpaths wider based on the non-motorised transport policy.

Wider footpaths planned

Concerned about increasing congestion, the traffic police had been objecting to the wider footpaths.

The width of carriageway will reduce to 6 metres because of the increase in space for pedestrians.

A revised proposal will be cleared by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department shortly.

Disabled friendly Stations

The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) will be taking initiatives to make the currently-running and the upcoming underground and elevated stations more accessible for persons with disabilities.

Despite recommendations submitted by the Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) in 2012, there have been issues of access in the currently running stations from Alandur to Koyambedu. This has been alleged as a case of contractor oversight.

As of September 23, the CMRL has agreed to cooperate with the DRA in rectifying these issues soon. It should be pointed out that the CMRL is being accommodating after the DRA completed an access-audit in August this year. “We had submitted a draft with recommendations for disabled-friendly fixtures and facilities three years ago. Though CMRL follows international standards in operation, the access to persons with disabilities was not addressed effectively,” said Smitha Sadasivan, DRA.

From accessing doors and the walky-talkies in the elevators to getting the wheelchairs from the platform into the trains, there have been several recommendations put forth by DRA.  In a communication to the CMRL recently, an official from the DRA said that these passengers still have issues reaching for the token counter, help desk and even the toilets, which have been constructed at an inaccessible height.

Sankar, from Agate Infotek, has been chosen by the DRA as the consultant to liaise with CMRL. He will be a part of the team that will also have third-party consultants to combat this inefficiency. “The response has been very positive from CMRL’s side, and all stations are being designed to be more accessible for persons with disabilities,” he stated.