Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Honey, they shrunk my footpath

Honey, they shrunk my footpath

Chitra V. Ramani
A study has found that barely 30 per cent of the roads had footpaths
BANGALORE: Uneven, narrow, poorly designed, and full of obstructions… it appears that there is no place for pedestrians even on footpaths in the city.

On Infantry Road, for instance, the footpath is overrun by shops to display furniture, while on Commercial Street closely parked vehicles make it inaccessible for pedestrians.

Those on Gandhi Bazaar and Malleswaram 8th Cross are often occupied by street vendors while on Old Post Office Road, the pedestrian underpass entrance has been constructed right on the footpath itself.

As for pedestrians who wish to go towards Nrupatunga Road from the Ambedkar Veedhi (M.S. Building), there is no footpath at all.

Poor priority
A study on traffic and transportation policies and strategies in 30 cities, including Bangalore, taken up under the National Urban Transport Policy 2006, found that facilities for pedestrians were almost nil.

The study found that in most Indian cities, barely 30 per cent of the roads had footpaths.

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has, in its draft guidelines for pedestrian movement, stressed on the need for a well-designed footpath/ sidewalk that is paved and is of sufficient width to handle the capacity of the expected load.

The guidelines state that footpaths should be built and maintained in all urban areas and are needed on both sides of all streets.

First casualties
K. Nagarajan of Hasiru Usiru, who has studied footpaths in the city, observed that pedestrian safety was not a priority for civic authorities.

“Many problems dog footpaths. For one, they aren’t paved, and are now being concretised, leaving no breathing space for trees. At some points, they are too high, making it hard for the elderly. And, when the roads are widened, footpaths are the first casualties,” he said.

The Indian Roads Congress guidelines stipulate that the minimum width of a footpath should not be less than 1.5 metres. The width should depend on pedestrian traffic, varying between 1.5 meters and a maximum of 4 metres.

Suhas Kulhalli, an activist who has prepared “Reference Guide for Urban Road Design”, said street furniture such as electrical poles, lamp posts, pole-mounted transformers and bus shelters, which often obstruct the movement of pedestrians, should be placed at the edge and not arbitrarily on the footpath.

“Footpaths should be at a slightly elevated height to give protection to pedestrians, prevent vehicles coming over to the footpath and help better segregation,” he said.

However, the civic authorities lack perspective and there is no attention to detail to make footpaths user-friendly, he added. “Ideally, when a road is being developed itself, urban planners must include pedestrian infrastructure,” he said.

BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena, while admitting there is no budget allocation for improvement of pedestrian infrastructure, claimed that the zonal engineers had been directed to ensure that footpaths were free of obstructions, encroachments, and are paved.

He said that part of the road development funds is used to construct footpaths. The public may call the BBMP control room to complain about uneven footpaths, he added.

1 Comments:

At Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 10:43:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger mohan rao said...

THERE IS NO WILL EITHER TO THE BBMP OR TO THE GOVT TO GET THE FOOTPATHS CLEARED. THESE PLACES APPEAR TO BE VOTE BANKS AND CORRPTION DEN. LAW MAKERS R THE LAW BREAKERS AND MONEY FLOWS. NO BODY CARES FOR THE PEDESTRIANS. SEE VIJAYANAGR CHORDROAD FROM BUSSTAND TO THE DEEPANJALINAGAR OUCHING MYSORE ROAD NO FOOTPATH ROAD FULL OF METRO WORK. NO BODY CARES.

 

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