Saturday, April 29, 2006

Footpath for walking only, please

Footpath for walking only, please
Deccan Herald

Responses invited from our readers to the column on disappearing footpaths continue to pour in. Here are some of the selected responses.

Sky-walks needed

I think Bangalore city needs more sky-walks so that people can cross the road safely. The footpaths should be free from vendors. Traffic on shopping districts like Commercial street and Brigade Road should be banned on weekends to make movement easier for shoppers. Public utility agencies and private companies that dig footpaths should be responsible for filling them up too. If they don’t do that, they should be fined or banned.

B Vikram

High, slippery pavements

I am a resident of Basavangudi for the past 25 years and I suffer from anxiety each time my aged mother goes to Gandhi Bazaar for shopping.

The footpaths hardly provide a safe walking area for pedestrians because of open or distorted slabs that turn slippery each time it rains. In some places, the footpath is so high that aged people find it difficult to climb.

I have visited a couple of western countries and I feel that implementing some of my suggestions would definitely make sidewalks more useful. I confess I do not have an idea about their feasibility in terms of cost, but I feel if there is a political will, solutions can be found.

nInstead of having slabs, have a cemented non-slippery platform. It makes walking convenient for old people and those using walking sticks. Even if it seems far fetched, this would help us walk faster on the pavements. The wear and tear of these platforms is relatively less and there are no relaying costs.

*In some places, like North Road near National College, Basavangudi, the footpath itself is about half a feet above the ground. So, many old people prefer walking on the road, rather than on the footpath. It would be ideal if a small slope can be added at the beginning and end of the footpath so that pedestrians can get on and off the pavement easily. This would greatly help senior citizens and those carrying heavy bags.

*Adding railings to footpath would prevent pedestrians (especially children) from walking on the road. The motorists can also be assured that nobody would suddenly run onto the road. Also, people would be forced to cross roads at signals and zebra crossings. This would greatly reduce accidents. The railings can be used for advertisements that can generate revenue for the government.

I hope that some of the above suggestions or other better ideas can be implemented and we have safer footpaths in Bangalore. Dreaming further, footpaths can actually become an easy way of taking an evening walk to taste the flavour of the city.


Sidewalk gardens

Your newspaper has broken new ground by highlighting the encroachment and misuse of sidewalks, which forces pedestrians to walk on the road. In Indiranagar area, especially in HAL II Stage, a number of houseowners have converted the sidewalks in front of their houses into private gardens.

One of them has even planted two coconut trees in his sidewalk garden. A few others have provided chain fences and wire-mesh enclosures to these gardens. These people may argue that by doing so, they are contributing to recreate the City Beautiful.

Such misuse must be happening because the engineering staff of the BMP are turning a Nelson’s eye to them. It is high time these encroachments are removed and pedestrians allowed to make use of sidewalks and reduce the risk to their lives.

K C K Raja, Indiranagar


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