Citizens united for pedestrianisation move

Pedestrians suffer to walk, due to Tender SURE work is started at Place Road, in front of CID Head Quarters in Bengaluru. Photo by S K Dinesh

The Wikipedia defines a pedestrian zone as ‘areas of a city or town reserved for pedestrian-only use and in which most or all automobile traffic may be prohibited.’

It adds, ‘Converting a street or an area to pedestrian-only use is called pedestrianisation.’ But in a city engulfed by motorist-oriented roads, this concept is always going to be tricky. Showing the red signal to motorists and making a road only for those on foot is not an easy choice.

One big factor behind the idea is an opportunity to enhance shopping space for people – who need not struggle, moving around long lines of vehicles that are often parked haphazardly. Keeping vehicles away will also make the area as pollution-free as possible.

Advocate Rudresh H B opines, “An evening on Brigade Road or Commercial Street might easily feel like entering a village shandy! Making your way through a steady stream of people is a tough journey, especially if you are in a hurry. During monsoon, it is next to impossible to use such streets as there is virtually no space to even open your umbrella.”

Concurring, Srividya S, who works on MG Road, says, “Many people in places such as Brigade Road are window shoppers and just fill up the footpaths. Moving past them by stepping down for a moment on the street is dangerous, thanks to the vehicles on the road.”

She explains, “The BMTC buses G-3 and G-4 come till Brigade Junction on Residency Road. When you need to virtually run to office situated in the vicinity of the Junction, not having proper space to even walk on congested footpaths is an irritation.”

Parking has been provided on one side of Brigade Road. Yet, finding your way through the parked vehicles can prove to be headache as big as crossing a high traffic road.

“Church Street has been given a new look recently. Walking on it now is much easier. For one, the road is yet to be wrecked by government departments under the pretext of some underground work. Also, the number of vehicles using the road is much lesser. We can now use the road to walk, taking enough precautions on the vehicles,” says Ramesh S V, a retired banker.

The conversion of Commercial Street too into a more pedestrian-friendly zone has a high approval rating among citizens. “My friend and I had been to the area, shopping recently. We found it is next to hell walking there. As it is, the old street is narrow. There is barely any space for pedestrians to move. One vehicle can pass on the street at a time. If a big vehicle enters, everyone using the street, including pedestrians, has to come to a halt,” says Rekha, who works for an MNC.

R Vasanth Kumar, BBMP corporator from Sampangiram Nagar notes, “Making a road convenient for pedestrians is very important. Many people, especially senior citizens, find it very difficult to use narrow roads packed with vehicles. Under such circumstances, pedestrianisation will prove a good and people-friendly move.”

He notes that this is not an attempt to deny businessmen their customers. “But it is equally true that in many places, there are no footpaths or the footpaths are occupied by petty shopowners or pushcarts,” he elaborates.

Sharath, manager at Amoeba on Church Street notes that many customers do not prefer walking for long distances after parking their vehicles. “But this would require us to have a parking zone, which, in turn, can lead to other problems including maintenance. Many times, for instance, the customers use the parking zones in a haphazard manner, landing us back on square one with regard to easy use of roads,” he explains.

The Metro, he says, is quite close to his outlet. “This makes access to our outlet on foot easy for customers and greatly reduces the need for a parking space. The idea of Church Street being ‘reserved’ for pedestrians, therefore, has not become a matter of worry for us,” says Sharath.

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Citizens united for pedestrianisation move

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