Walking classes unite

an initiative for the rights of pedestrians to their space

tiger varadachari road

the corporation is allowing more parking space on tiger varadachari road

Walk-A-Thon

21st September

Starting at 4:30 PM, Labour Statue, Marina.

Ending at Pattinapakkam, Foreshore Estate.

7 PM Closing ceremony with a street play and music.

Walking for Pedestrian Rights and related themes.

To register:

send a mail with name and contact number to ped.access@gmail.com; or

contact Venkat on 9884706531.

For more, check the entry right below.

Walking the Talk

It’s finally here, folks! The clock’s a-ticking for the Walking Classes Unite walkathon.

We start off at the Labour Statue at 4:30 PM. There will be an inaugural to-do to kick off the event.

The route followed thereafter is along Marina, within 7 KM. This ends up bringing our determined pedestrians to Pattinapakkam, Foreshore Estate, for a street play and some music by way of a closing ceremony.

That’s the brief overview – watch this space for details! Just to quickly clear the obvious questions:

What are we walking for?
– securing pedestrian rights. redefining urban spaces. making urban transport equitable. raising awareness.

How are we walking?
– Any way you like it! But with a clear way of indicating that we’re doing it for pedestrian access (funky headgear!).

Who is walking?
– You. And everyone you tell. Everyone who cares. Whoever cares will come. Spread the word!

Why walk?
– It’s fun. And it’s good for the soul. Not for the sole of your shoe. The idea is to shoo away such a state of affairs. We walk for a fair state.

When and Where you already know: Labour Statue, 4:30 PM, 21st September (Sunday).

See you there! To register, mail ped.access@gmail.com.

Easier still, call Venkat on 9884706531.

And watch for a beautified version of this blog and this post coming soon.

Keep walking, Johnnie!

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Collegiates, join us in the long walk to equity!

Anna Nagar Audit Walk Exhibition

Walking Classes Unite conducted an Audit Walk along with the Anna Nagar West Extension Residents’ Welfare Association. See the slide show!

The inauguration was done on 28th June by the Chief Election Commissioner (State) and was well-attended. A local theatre group enacted a brilliant street play for the occasion.

Presentation of Spastic Society Audit Walk to City Officials

June 20, 2008

View the presentation here!

The presentation for city officials about the Spastic Society Audit of April 17, 2008 was well attended. There were representatives from Corporation, Electrical Board, the Traffic Police (who left early) and some others. Please refer to the Register list taken by SPSTN. Following the presentation, there was a brief discussion about the proposed recommendations and comments from the representatives.

The rep from EB said that the open wire from Taramani is actually a telephone wire, so we should contact Telephone rather than EB for that problem. As for the Electricity box, there is only one on the Taramani Road, and it has already been cleared.

When the issue of hawkers was raised, the representative from Corporation (man in pink shirt) said that the Corp is already working on a proposal to move all shops from Taramani within the week. There will be no rehabilitation of these hawkers, they will only be removed. When it was suggested that these hawkers have a market from the Ascendas employees (cigarettes and cheap tiffins) so they should be moved down towards Ascendas, he said that these hawkers will just come back later. They must be removed because they are misusing the space. One example he gave was where they found a hawker using a handicap person’s identity to set up shop in the area. For the Corp, the issue of hawkers is not one to take lightly, and so the Hawking Committee is working hard to settle this problem.

As for the newly constructed central median on Taramani Road in front of SPSTN, the same rep said that there is already space given in front of the EB building for crossing. And once this central median is completely done, there will be a slope and small opening given to pedestrians. Mrs. Shyam responded that a small opening in the central median is not enough. Because the road is busy and there is no traffic signal, children often wait in groups to cross the street. A small opening as such will not be sufficient space for a group of 10 or more school children waiting to cross the road when there is so much traffic coming at high speeds.

One solution that was given to rectify this problem is the installation of speed bumps on roads like Taramani and OMR to control the speed of the oncoming traffic. But the rep from Corporation said that only cops can control the speed because the OMR is a main road with high speed traffic, so speed bumps cannot be put in place. It is a policy that speed breakers are not allowed on main roads here in Chennai. So pedestrians would have to rely on the traffic police to enforce traffic rules and control the speed of oncoming traffic. However, as Dr. KP Subramanian said, how can traffic be maintained at an appropriate speed when the police aren’t on duty all day long. So he suggested that pedestrian subways be provided on the OMR since there is a heavy volume of pedestrians using the road.

Ms. Vijayalakshmi, the librarian, said that “I have to depend on others because of the roads when I come to school from Mahlia Kalish…. Pedestrians are invisible… There are no traffic police around to help me cross the road. And I need somebody’s help, so every morning I come with a colleague to work. I have to take an auto when I come alone though. This is only because of the road.” She cannot climb the foot over-bridge.

A computer teacher from SPSTN who takes the bus to SPSTN from Valapani, said that the buses do not stop in front of the school. And so, bus users don’t know where to stand for the bus because there is no proper bus shelter and the bus drivers often do not wait for the passengers to get onto the bus. This is a problem that we must bring up with the Bus Dept.

Annie Shyam made a presentation of recommendations. Zebra crossings for pedestrians are essential and vehicles should slow down to ensure the safety of pedestrians. She wanted 7 zebra crossings to be installed.

1) There needs to be a zebra crossing in front of the MRTS bus stand to cross over to Tidel Park because there are so many people crossing the road to go to the institutions around the area. A light and a sound buzzer should be included at all crossings. One of the reps commented that instead, the bus stop should be moved closer to the MRTS so that the bus commuters can cross at the intersection or use the foot over-bridge. There should be more of an effort by Bus Routes to integrate the transport system so that bus stands and the MRTS are linked and accessible.

2) The intersection of the OMR and Canal Bank Road is chaotic, so there needs to be a zebra crossing and speed breakers placed on the OMR crossing over to Tidel Park and a zebra crossing Canal Bank Road from the MRTS. There should also be zebra crossings on all three sides of the OMR turning into Taramani Road.

3) Along Taramani road there should be speed breakers and a zebra crossing from the Technical Teacher’s Institute over to SPSTN. There should also be a school zone sign posted here clearly.

**generally, she suggested that there should be zebra crossing by every bus stop and that every zebra crossing requires a light and sound buzzer.

One commenter responded to Mrs. Shyam by suggesting that subways for the OMR – Canal Bank intersection because it is too busy. But Mrs. Shyam said that this would only make the pedestrians even more invisible. Why should the pedestrian be forced to go underground to cross the street? Even if you put escalators and lifts for these over-bridges and subways, they will not work over time (just like the ones in the MRTS). Over 2 percent of India’s population is disabled, so why aren’t the pedestrian facilities reflecting that population.

Dr. KP Subramanian suggested that SPSTN be made into a special zone where speed must be controlled and the height of the footpath be reduced. However, adding the number of zebra crossings that Mrs. Shyam suggested would not be possible.

As a conclusion, a former member of Hwy Department said that he will go back to his department and review our recommendations. He would support making SPSTN a special zone, and take note of making more audible crossing signals available. But all these things will have to be discussed in each of the departments in charged.