Skywalks at 4 busy points proposed

It looks like the city may very well get skywalk facilities with escalators at four busy points with the survey undertaken by a Bangalore-based private agency on behalf of Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund (TNUDF) getting huge public response.

 The agency contacted over 50,000 people who frequented Coimbatore junction railway station, collectorate premises, Lanka Corner and government general hospital premises in the last four days and received wide demand for the construction of such a pedestrian management facility. Feedback would be collected based on which a proposal will be formulated.

According to officials of consultancy firm Wilbur Smith Associates, the feasibility study would be completed very soon and handed over to TNUDF. The infrastructure development agency would implement the project through Coimbatore Municipal Corporation. As part of the feasibility study, 40 officials of the firm were deployed at selected locations for four days to study the flow of vehicles and pedestrians. People thronging the railway station and hospital were interviewed regarding the difficulties of crossing the road and their suggestions were sought in managing the crowd. The Lanka corner and collectorate premises also came under study and public opinion was sought.

Skywalks with escalators are the latest user-friendly and innovative foot over bridges coming up in big cities and metros. In India, most of them are located in Mumbai and Bangalore. Coimbatore is likely to get the same facility keeping in view the huge pedestrian movement in key parts of the city,'' said a senior official of TNUDF. While Coimbatore junction is the second largest railway station under Southern Railways, the general hospital linked with Coimbatore Medical College is frequented by over 60,000 people daily.

The surveying team deputed near the railway station told TOI that they counted flow of passengers in and out of the station every 15 minutes during the last four days. The same method was followed to count the flow of patients in government hospital. The surveyors also counted flow of two wheelers, auto rickshaws, buses, trucks, cycles and other vehicles at crucial points and monitored how pedestrians cross the road especially during peak hours.

TNUDF officials said they asked the agency to study the feasibility based on a suggestion in this regard from Coimbatore Corporation. "The corporation had wanted foot over bridges in these locations but we proposed skywalks with escalators keeping in view future needs,'' said the official.
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