Saturday, March 27, 2010

Parties failed to remember the rights of pedestrians

Parties failed to remember the rights of pedestrians

They should have given bold views on footpaths and public transport system

Two significant elements of transport that are neglected are public transport and pedestrians. One wonders why parties are not talking about them. They are people's burning issues.
Do any of the leading parties have a bold and ambitious vision on footpaths? Their manifestoes do not reflect it. BJP has just mentioned about the bus stops. So there is some kind of thinking on public transport from one party.
Metro is going to be a good step forward. But what about the bus network, the bus system, the bus stops. People have faced so many issues with the way bus stops are designed and the information centre is functioning.
Mobility of the people involves three elements, private, public transport and pedestrians. The stress continues on private transport. If this is not corrected, the remaining things will fizzle out.
Has there been a clear footpath mapping being done at any of the city's major crossings? Or has there been a pedestrians' movement mapping? In the city's big junctions, there are still no zebra crossings or proper walk ways. Pedestrians should be able to walk from one side of the junction to the other without an effort.
This is a serious safety issue as most traffic accidents at junctions involve pedestrians. Parties should have discussed and included it in their manifestoes.
Each street in Bangalore must have safe, clear and continuous footpaths. At present, the footpaths are not safe, especially for old people. For instance, what will they do if an elevated footpath stops abruptly? They can't jump to the road which is risky. Pedestrians being forced to walk on roads is another safety concern.
Four-laning and flyovers are only temporary steps. Until people shift from private to public transport, incentives must stay. But to make that shift possible, public transport must be made attractive. Mono rail is a good idea. It is part of the larger transportation plan for Bangalore for the next 20 years. No party spoke about that.
To make things work, there should be congestion tax. Singapore has tried it successfully. Public will initially resist it. But that is the incentive created for them in using public transport and disincentive for private vehicle users. But this cannot work unless people have a good public transport option.
One clear incentive is to create a seamless network of public transport. Each bus and Metro station should be inter-connected. So when people leave their homes for work, they should have have an integrated transport system.
But the integrated transport plan should be inclusive of people's views like the one on widening the roads.


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