Chennai: In a bid to ease congestion and make better use of public transport in the arterial Anna Salai, the state government is all set to commission a study. Sources said the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has urged the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited to carry out a study through a consultant.
The outcome of the study will be used as a model to develop EVR Periyar Salai (Poonamallee High Road), another heavily congested stretch on similar lines, it is learnt. The move by the government is part of efforts to encourage people to shift to public transport rather than using space-gobbling cars.
Increased patronage to public transport brings a whole lot of benefits. Among them is reduced parking requirements in buildings along the mass rapid transit (MRT) corridors like the Anna Salai. Interestingly, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation in Anna Salai presently carries 14,000 passengers per hour per direction and when patronage increases, the figures could multiply and help lessen congestion.
“It [use of public transportation] would also increase the usable floor space in buildings on the MRTS corridors and also ensure efficient movement of vehicles on the stretch,” an CMDAsource said.
Sources said that the study would look into what is being described as ‘Transit Oriented Development' (TOD) by urban planners. TOD contemplates a system to provide safe and quick mobility besides focused high intensity development of the area. “This also includes building development along the corridor so that more people can live and work within walking distance to public transport stations, which includes bus and rail services,” the official said.
Developing wide, tree-shaded footpaths to improve passenger access to Metro rail and bus rapid transit stations besides bicycle tracks, bicycle parking and public cycle sharing systems to increase the area accessible by public transport are among the features of TOD.
The proposed study along the TOD guidelines will look into the mix of residential, commercial, institutional and educational areas around public transport network, including bus and rail, to increase convenience to passengers besides developing a network of interconnected streets to avoid long detours for pedestrians.
Sources said the study would also look into transforming dilapidated buildings to modern high-rise buildings besides preserving the heritage buildings. By adopting the TOD benchmark, the mass transport capacity will be increased substantially and result in efficient use of tax-payers’ money. Open spaces such as parks, and public plazas can be created through a holistic approach to the redevelopment of Anna Salai.
There are also suggestions that the newly created CUMTA can be empowered and its capacity built to act as the nodal agency for transit-oriented development. The suggestion also include that CUMTA can perform the role of planner, financier and coordinator.