Thursday, July 23, 2009

BBMP to hand over closed subways to advertisers

BBMP to hand over closed subways to advertisers

The two underpasses at Malleswaram Circle were shut down due to illegal activities and filth

Good maintenance can help pedestrians to use them again

Shwetha S



Most parts of the city don't have pedestrian crossings, leading to chaos on the roads. Although Malleshwaram Circle has two pedestrian subways, both of them remain closed for the last four months. The BBMP's poor maintenance only forced the shop owners to close the subways.
"They built the pedestrian subways a year ago. But in 15 days, people stopped using them because a few miscreants had started urinating there. Moreover, it became unsafe for women to use these subways as men used to gamble there. Eventually, they started stinking and this affected our business. We complained to the area engineers many a time but no measures were taken. We unanimously decided to shut the subways with BBMP's permission," a shop owner Malathi said.
Malleswaram is one of the key commercial areas in the city but the important Malleshwaram Circle Road is a one way. Traffic congestion, vehicles coming to a choc-a-bloc and pedestrians struggling to find way is commonplace here. The construction of two pedestrian subways seemed to lend absolutely no reprieve. This space is now used by shop owners for advertisements.
"Two shops here initially objected to the pedestrian subways since it obstructed the shops' view. We, however, gave in, thinking it would ease the pedestrians' struggle. But it began to be misused and the BBMP paid no heed," said another shop owner Lakshmikant Shenoy.
The BBMP officers claim that due to the shortage of staff, maintenance of the pedestrian subway is difficult and that only forced them to close them. They said they were planning to give away the subways to advertisers.
"The pedestrian subway was constructed along with the underpass near Malleshwaram Circle. Had there been gates for proper entry and exit, the illegal activities could have been averted and the mess could have been curtailed. We received several complaints from shop owners about the difficulty that the pedestrians were facing in crossing the road. On an average, we have spent about Rs35 lakhs to build one pedestrian underpass. We cannot leave it unused for long. We will soon call the advertisers and hand them over the two subways in a month, so that they can take care of the maintenance and people can use it.," Harish Kumar, assistant engineer of Malleshawram, said.
There are about 13 pedestrian sub-ways across the city of which only a few subways are used.
Some of the most used and less maintained pedestrians subways across the city are in Majestic, KR Market, Near Hebbal Flyover, and Malleshwaram Circle.
Some of the less used pedestrian subways across the city are on Nrupathunga Road, Basaveshwara Circle, and near Bellary Road.

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