Cunningham Road transformation

Cunningham Road transformation

Cunningham Road transformation

Cunningham Road is part of the seven city roads in the Central Business District being upgraded under the first phase of the TenderSURE project. Here’s a reality check on how the road-users perceive the changes being brought about to the footpaths, the motor lanes and the idea of a pedestrian-first approach.

Motorists are peeved at the narrower lanes for vehicles. But there are also road-users such as Chandrashekhar, a private firm manager, who finds the change better. Says he, “Even though the roads are narrow now, it is okay. The place looks neat, whereas earlier it was dirty with mud lying around. I am really happy to see the well-designed footpath.” 

As he parks his two-wheeler in the designated area, he adds, “Since this is a busy area, provision of a parking space has come as a relief.” Deepak Kumar, an entrepreneur, also echoes this view: “I got a parking space easily, so that was unexpected.” 

Ironically, there are a few pedestrians who finds the earlier road better. Here’s what a pedestrian, Binoy, working as a private hospital HR manager, says: “Even though the footpaths were narrow earlier, the scenario was much better. Once upon a time, this used to be a two-way road. Now, in spite of being a one way road, there are traffic jams. The footpath should have been only on one side and not this wide.”

Senior citizen SG Hegde notes that the upgraded footpath is far better than before. However, he feels it could have been better. “I wouldn’t rate it too high. Have you seen the footpaths in Delhi?” But the footpath is now much better than earlier, I don’t dispute that. I can at least walk now in Cunningham Road.”

But there is a section, which is visibly unhappy: Shopkeepers. And their excuse for being so: Reduction in business since the construction started. John Morris, store manager of a Chai Point outlet, laments, “People who travel on this road don’t stop here because of the construction work. They are in a hurry to get out of this place.” His hope now rests on the timely completion of the project. “After the work is finished, maybe we’ll be getting more customers,” he says. However, there are a few others who are not so sure. “Where is the parking space, tell me?” Rao, who manages Infinitea Tea Room, questions with irritation. 

During the construction phase, traffic movement has been affected. Congestion has been the norm. But braving all that, bound by their duty, the traffic police have managed to maintain a semblance of order.  

Overseeing the evening peak-hour rush, traffic constable A Ravindra has this to say: “The narrowed roads will not be a problem except during peak hours from 5 pm to 9 pm. We have to manage. We are traffic cops. It’s our job.” As she directs a bus into the bus bay, traffic policewoman, T N Veena notes, “The bus bay provided under the upgraded road is a good facility since the buses will now stop only here making it convenient for passengers.”