Sunday, January 25, 2009

No room for pedestrians on our roads

No room for pedestrians on our roads

In its bid to ensure high-speed roads, BBMP has forgotten about the footpaths, reports Basavaraj Itnaal

Basavaraj Itnaal

In their rush to create signal-free corridors for motorists, the city's civic authorities have forsaken pedestrians. Those who have tried walking along Bangalore's main thoroughfares know what a nightmare it is to be on Richmond, Residency or MG roads, where the footpaths have been encroached upon.
"An estimated 20% of Bangalore's population walks to work, but there is absolutely no pedestrian infrastructure," says civic analyst V Ravichandar. "If proper walkways are provided, people would love to walk as the city has good weather."
Ravichandar says pedestrians' rights were compromised when "instant" underpasses were planned at the Cauvery and BDA junctions (and also at the Sanjaynagar, CBI and Anand Nagar junctions to create a signal-free corridor to the airport). "Signal-free traffic to the international airport is itself a bad idea. There have to be places where traffic rests so that people can walk across junctions."
But Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) chief engineer Krishna Reddy doesn't think life is difficult for pedestrians. "BBMP is providing skywalks and subways at all busy corridors. In fact, we have feedback from the police that after we set up higher road medians on Race Course road, the number of pedestrians crossing it has come down," he said.
At present, BBMP is widening 85 high-density corridors. But Reddy says: "The width of a footpath depends on the pedestrian traffic expected. On many roads, the footpaths were wider than required and in others narrower. Now we are providing a uniform footpath width of 2.5 to 3 metres."
However, not all the roads in the city have footpaths. Also, the BBMP doesn't know the total length of the city's footpaths. But BBMP chief engineer (east) Ananthaswamy says information on sidewalks is maintained at ward offices and one only needs to collate the data.


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