Pedestrian-friendly, but no stopping invasion by riders

Roads are choked not merely by traffic, but also due to frequent digging for maintenance of underground utilities. While motorists see this as a great inconvenience, pedestrians find footpaths risky as they are invaded by two-wheelers. The TenderSURE project was designed to address these recurring issues.

TenderSURE roads are designed with wide footpaths for pedestrians, well-designed bus stops and parking bays. The idea is also to help easy entry and exit of passengers into buses through exclusive bus bays.

Many citizens say the roads have improved with the project’s intervention. “The footpaths have been cleared for good use of pedestrians,” says Vineetha, a MNC employee. “Pedestrians on these roads now have easier access to footpaths. There is no problem of encounters with motorcycles,” she explains.

Chartered Accountant Deepak Raj agrees: “The arterial roads have become more pedestrian-friendly. The TenderSURE roads have kept a check on motorists riding on footpaths.” However, on the whole, citizens do not see a perceptible change as the upgraded roads are limited to the city’s Central Business District (CBD).

For Murthy, a driver, the problem is with vehicles parking on both sides fo the road. “This causes a lot of problem for movement of pedestrians as well as vehicle users. If it is a narrow road, manouevring a vehicle such as an SUV proves extremely difficult. Although this is not seen much on a main road, we still have cases of haphazard parking, even parking on the footpaths,” he says.

“BBMP shows keenness in clearing petty shops and pushcarts from the sides of roads. Then why is it so lethargic in dealing with such parking on footpaths? After all, are such drivers not encroaching upon the roads and footpaths,” asks Rangappa, a pushcart owner.

TenderSURE roads might have improved footpaths. But they do not guarantee that reckless riders do not invade that space. This is seen on many upgraded roads. Motorcyclists, long used to footpath riding to bypass the congested motorway, get on to the pedestrian zones. Walkers are often caught offguard by this invasion.

The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had dubbed the TenderSURE project a positive move and lauded the Government for taking the lead in getting the urban roads right for the long term.

This was the way to go, instead of ‘temporary fixes with poor design and construction’ that ‘result in repeated digging and fixing the same road’, ‘draining the city’s coffers.’

Other aspects

However, citizens want the Palike to not lose track of other aspects of a road outside the TenderSURE network. “There are repeated cases of digging for drainage work or laying of cables. This should be avoided. The garbage is not collected in time or in a proper manner. The footpaths are half covered in garbage as a result,” says Vineetha.

Shwetha, a student, adds, “The condition of the roads has improved in certain aspects, no doubt. But, when it comes to other features of TenderSURE, the BBMP speaks of making things easier for bus commuters, for instance. The BBMP officials are welcome to have a look at how and where the BMTC buses, let alone private buses, stop for commuters.”

“Very often,” she says, “there are bus stands, but the buses stop at the nearby signals. The passengers have to cross a couple of vehicles to reach the buses, all the while afraid of the signal changing too.”

An advocate, preferring anonymity, notes: “It is true that the city roads are in bad shape most of the time. But, from the cost perspective, I would still prefer the old style roads. TenderSURE roads cost a lot of money, which are not worth the returns.”

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Pedestrian-friendly, but no stopping invasion by riders

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