The multi-level car parking lot, built at a cost of ₹40 crore with a capacity to accommodate 500 vehicles, remains mostly unused owing to various issues
The festival season is here and so are the perennial traffic snarls in T. Nagar, including at its pedestrian plaza.
There seems to be no respite for residents as by-lanes have been turned into free parking lots. The extended footpaths, including those in the plaza, have been taken over by two-wheelers.
For instance, rows of two-wheelers can be seen on the footpath near the Thankiachalam Road-Theagaraya Road junction when just across the road, the multi-level car park (MLCP), a structure built at a cost of ₹40 crore and can accommodate 500 vehicles, remains unused.
During non-peak hours, it is normal to see two-wheelers weave their way through the bollards, putting pedestrians at risk.
According to Haje, the contractor in-charge of the MLCP, vehicle users are encouraged to use the Smart Parking App to book their slot. “There has been some improvement as during weekdays, as many as 100 cars are parked in the MLCP,” he said.
But, only less than a dozen two-wheelers use the facility that has a capacity to accommodate 500 vehicles. Another issue is the haphazard parking of normal and share autorickshaws, that typically use the entry to the MLCP.
“We have appointed security staff to clear the space regularly. But the problem is from people who do not use the application, and those who refuse to pay attendants when they park,” Mr. Haje said.
Among the regular violators are politicians, advocates and journalists. “I cannot be reaching out to the higher officials every time this happens. We lose as much as 40% of the revenue due to this,” he added.
At an impasse
Meanwhile, the Greater Chennai Corporation and traders’ bodies have not arrived at an agreement to encourage employees of the shops in T. Nagar to use the MLCP.
A transportation expert from a national institute, who was involved in the planning stages of the pedestrian plaza, said for the facility to achieve its full potential, an adequate number of public transport services was necessary. “Facilities such as pedestrian plaza serve the purpose of social connectivity. But only when public transportation is increased will it benefit the people. Until then, when violations happen, it is for the citizens to ensure enforcement happens,” said the expert, who wished to remain unnamed.
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