This is the site of an important facility that pedestrians in Chennai’s Rangarajapuram and Kodambakkam areas look forward to – a walkway connecting Rangarajapuram Main Road and T. Nagar’s North Usman Road near Vivek’s.
Before the Rangarajapuram bridge with its two arms was built here, there was a railway gate here, with a guard to man it. After the gate has been removed to make for the ‘flyover’, the question of constructing a low-use subway for pedestrians and cyclists was taken up.
Some vested interests quickly tried moved in to demand that motorised two-wheelers and even autorickshaws should be allowed to use this small passage. Pedestrians have been protesting that there are other options for motorised vehicles, including the newly constructed bridge (which operates as a one-way access in the morning hours), with the default entry being from the T. Nagar side. It is not clear whether motorised two-wheelers will be allowed to ride through this mini-subway.
What stands out in this project is the lethargic pace of implementation.
As the picture shows, things have been lying in a morbid condition for weeks, and residents of several apartment complexes on Rangarajapuram Main Road have been unable to have access to their property. No one from the Corporation of Chennai seems to show much anxiety at this state of affairs. Contrast this with the 24-hour work cycle for the Chennai Metro Rail that is advancing that project so visibly.
Equally important, once this facility is completed, it will provide walkers a quick passage to T. Nagar.
It remains to be seen whether the subway will have sufficient space for walkers, with safe elevation of walking path, or whether they will be at the mercy of motorised road users once again.