Footpaths serve all, but pedestrians

MISUSE

Footpaths serve several purposes. It is left to the imagination of a user. But pedestrians fail to use it, finds out T R Sathish Kumar

Footpaths are a problem — whether they exist or not — in Mysore. Authorities concerned — the civic body, planning authority, road transport department and police — do not care for pedestrians. They do not have any knowledge of pedestrians’ rights.

Private organisations, business establishments and individuals do their mite to violate the rights. Pedestrians themselves do not know anything about their rights — most of the times, they themselves become offenders, knowingly or unknowingly.

Pedestrians are not an exclusive class of people, because all people become pedestrians at one time or the other. So, safeguarding the rights of pedestrians is safeguarding the rights of all people.

Even if one drives a swanky car, he/she has to alight at some place and walk a little. Same with someone who rides a low-end, less expensive bicycle. But the only advantage for cyclists is that they ride even on footpaths in case of a traffic jam. Nowadays even those riding, moped, scooters and motorbikes encroach on the footpaths.

Parking problem

Sometimes those riding autorickshaws also try to run on footpaths. Most of them may not ply on footpaths in Mysore because the traffic is yet to reach the proportions as in Bangalore or any other metropolitan cities. But all these vehicles have one thing in common. All of them are parked on the footpath wherever exclusive parking space is not provided.

A lot has been written about business establishments encroaching upon footpaths to display their ware and to install power generators and street vendors obstructing pedestrians. So not much is left untold about the issue.
Trees are necessary, they provide oxygen, shade, etc. But some huge trees on narrow footpaths force pedestrians to get down and walk on the road. They also provide cover for those who attend to nature’s call in the open at night times and aid stinking of the place. Trees can be excused for a green cause.

The Cesc has numerous transformers on footpaths, making it inevitable for people to walk on the road. Because Cesc is busy implementing scheduled and unscheduled power cuts — giving a boost to the gen set and UPS industry — and effecting hikes in tariff, it can also be excused.

In most of the localities, auto stands are invariably located on footpaths. As they are the ones who ferry pedestrians, converting them into passengers, they deserve an excuse.

People constructing and renovating houses and other buildings use footpaths to store construction materials. They can be excused as they are involved in the ‘development’ of the city. But, some of them have gone as far as erecting sheds for watchman on the path.

Traffic police are responsible for smooth flow of traffic. However, they do not consider those on foot as part of the traffic. They have encroached upon the footpath at the entrance of the suburban bus stand to make space for pre-paid autos.

They have put up a board ‘ordering’ “Padacharigalu kaddayavaagi yedakke chalisi” (pedestrians should compulsorily walk to the left), directing towards the footpath. However, a few metres away they have placed a ‘No parking’ barricade, blocking the footpath, making the pedestrians automatically shift to the road.

Not to be left behind, the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has granted shops to beneficiaries on several footpaths. It has also placed huge dustbins on the path at several places. The sum total is that people are programmed not to walk on the footpath in Mysore.

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