Crossing the street near Eco Park’s gate 4 should get easier by the end of the year as work has started on a pedestrian subway complex there on the service lanes of the Major Arterial Road. Gate 4 leads to the Seven Wonders of the World section of the amusement park.
The pedestrian subway is expected to help pedestrians cross safely as vehicular speed is relatively high on the Major Arterial Road — a 10.5km long six lane artery with service lanes on both flanks that connects New Town with Salt Lake and Sector V on one end and VIP Road on the other.
According to a senior officer of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate’s traffic wing, the volume of vehicles plying on the MAR has gone up manifold over the years and during peak hours thousands of buses, private cars, app cabs and two-wheelers that ferry office-goers enter and leave New Town everyday.
The area where the subway would come up is one of the main entry and exit points to Action Area II as well as the Nawabpur Gram Panchayat area and has a high concentration of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the street even as cars and other vehicles whiz past them.
The car parking lot in Eco Park’s gate number 4 sees a heavy influx of vehicles every weekend and the number of visitors on foot also increases. Passengers who get off buses that stop on the MAR also cross on foot to get to Eco Park’ gate number 4 and those headed to areas like Nawabpur or housing complexes and co-operatives in Action Area II are also forced to cross the busy MAR on foot. On any given day pedestrians and cyclists can be spotted darting past vehicles, that can cause accidents.
“We deploy traffic personnel at the crossing but on most occasions a section of cyclists and pedestrians don’t listen to their warnings and cross the road in a dangerous manner,” the officer added.
Dual escalators planned
The subway will be around 40m in length and will be a bi-directional one similar to the one in front of Eco Park’s gate number 2 (the gate leading to the waterbody).
It will be built at a depth of around 7-8m below the road surface and the box tunnelling method will be used to save on time, a senior official of the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), that has commissioned the build, said.
At both ends the subway will be equipped with escalators that travel up and down in order to encourage pedestrians to use them. Across the city overpasses and subways that are not equipped with escalators have turned out to be of little use. The one near Sealdah has few takers as one has to climb a flight of stairs and even the Chingrighata overpass is avoided by a section of pedestrians because, though equipped with escalators to climb up, they have to climb down a flight of stairs.
In New Town at the Biswa Bangla Gate intersection during peak hours people dart across the MAR and very few take the subway even though it has dual direction escalators.
There are plans to build another subway complex for pedestrians near the Bisarjan Ghat crossing in New Town’s Action Area I.
In the city New Town has the most number of pedestrian subway complexes. They are up at the Nazrul Tirtha crossing, Akanksha junction, City Centre II crossing and a four-point pedestrian subway at the Biswa Bangla Gate crossing.