In the City of Chennai, the welfare of pedestrians and cyclists is often overlooked as crowded roads teeming with cars and rickshaws become even more congested and demand more space. Sidewalks are rare, quality sidewalks even rarer, and crosswalks, when they exist, are often ignored. Promoting non-motorized transport is a priority at ITDP, and requires a radical rethinking of the street space. By calling attention to the problems, crafting creative solutions, and building support, ITDP is helping Chennai and many other cities reshape their urban environments.
Over the weekend, ITDP India organized a day-long workshop around non-motorized infrastructure issues in the city of Chennai as part of the Our Cities Ourselves workshop series, supported by Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF) and ClimateWorks Foundation. The Chennai City Commissioner and Mayor were in attendance, supporting new footpaths across the city and greater street safety. Caroline Samponaro, Senior Director of Campaigns and Organizing at Transportation Alternatives in the US, shared her experience of working with the government in New York in bringing change to the city’s streets. “Building dedicated bus lanes, cycle tracks and footpaths is the greatest thing any Corporation can do. And if you build it, people will use it,” she said.
Attendees of the workshop included engineers from various city departments and local neighborhood districts, members of the disability alliance, local bicycle advocates, traffic police, and members of good governance groups. Workshop participants developed ideas for street improvements in smaller groups, and presented their recommendations to the Commissioner of the Corporation of Chennai for consideration.
(All Photos credit: ITDP)
Our Cities Ourselves (OCO) 2013 in Chennai, India, with support from the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA), Corporation of Chennai (COC), Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Tamil Nadu Commissionerate of Municipal Administration (TNCMA) and other partner organizations, is an exhibition and events program that offers solutions to support walking, cycling and mass transportation options for a more sustainable future. Highlighting international best practices, the program will foster an exchange of ideas on present urban conditions, key challenges, and solutions to realize our vision for better streets and better cities in Chennai.