Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cross if dare

Cross if dare
No thought has been given to pedestrians on some of the busy thoroughfares in this part of town

The Central business area is not for you if you choose to be on your feet. Especially when you’re left stranded in the middle of any of the busy roads like Richmond Road, Cunningham Road, St Mark’s Road and Residency Road, struggling for a gap to cross.
“It’s an impossible task, not only during peak hours, but all the time. And it’s really sad to see old people coming out of the SBI office having to stand and wait for so long just to cross,” says Pathan about the crowded St Mark’s Road junction.
The entire stretch from St Joseph’s College to the SBI office doesn’t have a single pedestrian crossing. And it’s even worse near the SBI junction, where vehicles take both left and right turns — towards Residency Road and MG Road. With several offices located on the road, office-goers are the worst affected lot. “A signal at the junction or a foot overbridge across the road can solve pedestrian woes,” suggests Chandrashekar S, who works in an office situated on St Mark’s Road.
A chaotic situation prevails on Cunningham Road too. Though the road was recently relaid, there are no lane or pedestrian markings from Queen’s Road junction to the Vasanth Nagar junction. “Pedestrians are always stranded near the bus stop opposite Sigma Mall. This spot calls for a pedestrian crossing,” observes Akarsh Sooda. Since the road is a one-way, most of the left side is allocated for parking. Many feel the pavement on the right side should be maintained well to help shoppers and other walkers move freely along the stretch.
While there is a skywalk on Residency Road right next to the bus stop, the stretch leading to the Cash Pharmacy junction also needs one. More so because it’s a school zone. “If the elevation of the skywalk is reduced a bit, more people will start using it as it is very tough for elderly people to climb the stairs,” says Divya Srinivas.
The recent traffic diversions on the Brigade Road stretch from the Residency Road junction to Shoolay Circle have clearly eased the traffic. But the plight of pedestrians hasn’t changed. “It’s very difficult to cross near Shoolay Circle as vehicles from Ashok Nagar also take a right turn here. A crossing near the circle would help pedestrians,” feels Priyank Sharma.
Among all the other roads, Richmond Road is the most pedestrian-unfriendly with no crossings or skywalks from Vellara Junction to Richmond Circle. While the pavements are too narrow and poorly maintained, vehicles are also parked near commercial establishments, causing an inconvenience to pedestrians. “There is a need for a skywalk near Baldwin’s High School as little schoolchildren suffer a lot. The traffic is chaotic near the flyover as vehicle users decide too late on which road to take,” says Mary J of Richmond Town. Another resident, Mohammed Fazal, feels that there should at least be two crossings on this stretch.
It’s good to see many roads being asphalted in this business area. But it would be great if pedestrian amenities are also included in the agenda.

Cunningham Road and (below) Richmond Road


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