Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bangalore’s walkability quotient low

Bangalore’s walkability quotient low
Ambika Pandit, Ruhi Bhasin & Megha Suri | TNN

New Delhi: If you are among those Bangaloreans who rely on walking to complete most of your chores, you deserve more than a pat. For, you do so in a pedestrian-unfriendly city that does not rate walking anywhere near transport although 17% of its citizens mostly get about on foot.
A look at Bangalore’s congested footpaths and crumbling sidewalks is proof enough of the pedestrian’s nightmare. But now a Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) report has pointed to how deficient the city is in terms of walkability.
Despite its densely packed population, Mumbai seems more walker-friendly with as much as 55% of its population walking regularly. This figure is 32% in Delhi.
Despite the large number of urban ‘walkers’, WWF’s Alternative Urban Futures Report, to be released at the First Habitat Summit in Delhi on Saturday, reveals a general absence of emphasis on pedestrians, street culture and walkways as far as urban planning goes.
Even though suburban trains carry thousands of Mumbai commuters to work, the sight of people pouring out of stations is common enough. Mumbai is followed by Ahmedabad, where about 40% of the people walk to get around, followed by Bangalore (17%) and Kolkata (12%). Smaller towns walk more: study
New Delhi: A study of 30 Indian cities shows that, on an average, almost 40% of all trips in urban India still do not involve motorized vehicles; 28% walk and 11% cycle. The proportion rises sharply in smaller towns since distances are usually small and roads less congested. In bigger cities, the proportion of people using conventional public transport is high, and consequently commuters walked the last mile.
In cities with more than 8 million population, 22% walk all the way, 8% use cycles and 44% public transport. This adds up to 74% people who rely on non-motorized transport for at least part of their commute, the study adds. The study elaborates walkability as requiring ‘a whole gamut of urban design requirements like density, mixed use, street life, pedestrian crossings, tree shade, public spaces’.
Sanjeev Sanyal, founder of the Sustainable Planet Institute, says: “It is a myth that it is too hot to walk in a city like Delhi. Singapore has hot and humid temperature almost throughout the year but people still walk there. The problem is, walking and cycling are not being included as a legitimate form of transport.’’

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