Thursday, July 27, 2006

Skywalks yet to again acceptance in city

Skywalks yet to again acceptance in city

The Hindu

`Median barricades on road will force people to use skywalks'

Bangalore: The proposal of building skywalks seemed to be a good idea. Two problems — ensuring pedestrian safety at road crossings and increasing revenue of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) — would be solved at the same time. But skywalks in the city seemed to have failed as most people do not use the skywalks and prefer to cross the road instead.

Sources at the BMP advertising and development section told The Hindu that this had prompted the civic body to rethink its decision of sanctioning more skywalks. But it has asked its technical advisors to propose design changes, the sources said.

Surojit Muley, General Manager of Vantage Advertising (the company building skywalks in the city on a Build-Own-Transfer basis), said skywalks had been designed by the Indian Institute of Science and height of the steps were at a convenient six inches.

Reasons for under use

Mr. Muley said the reason why people were not using these elevated walkways was that they were not used to the concept of skywalks. An official at the BMP said that older people found it difficult to climb these skywalks as they were situated at 5.5 metres above the ground. He had a simple solution to make people use the skywalks. "If median barricades are provided on the roads, people will have to use the skywalks," he said. But the BMP had not yet done this, he said. He suggested that if the pavements were barricaded, the problem could be solved to a certain extent.

The BMP had planned 27 skywalks in the city last year but the proposal has undergone changes since then. The company undertaking the project had changed and with it the proposal to have escalators had been dropped.

"When we undertook the project, we told the BMP that it was not feasible to have escalators outdoors because of the dust, rain and so on," said Mr. Muley.

The company was building skywalks at a cost of Rs. 70 lakh each and had been given ownership for five years. The BMP could earn revenue by levying advertising and ground tax on advertisers using the space on the skywalks.


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