Utility takes a beating at most City skywalks

Utility takes a beating at most City skywalks

While the State government has earmarked Rs 100 crore for BBMP in its budget, for constructing the pedestrian skywalks in the City, the existing skywalks, which largely remain underutilised, underline the need for a proper policy for pedestrians.

Many residents, BBMP officers and public representatives like Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaya Kumar feel that the skywalks are meant to facilitate pedestrians and not the advertisement mafia.

There are eight foot overbridges at a few major junctions such as KG Road near Kandaya Bhavan, Residency Road near Bishop Cotton’s Boys’ School, Seshadri Road near Maharani College, KR Puram, among others, which do not have many users.

There is also the instance of a skywalk being demolished (at Jayanagar IV Block), which has made people skeptical about the utility of skywalks, if they are built at unwanted places.

K V Bhaskar Murthy, president of the Federation of Jayanagar Residents' Associations, said, “Three years ago, the skywalk at Jayanagar IV Block was closed down as only some people were using it.

‘Can be a hit’

In its place, a BMTC bus shelter has come up. If the skywalks are equipped with lift facility and built in such a manner that even senior citizens and physically handicapped can use them easily, definitely they will be a hit in the City.

The only skywalk which I think is useful is the one near Sophia High School on Palace Road, as many pedestrians use it."

Vijaya Kumar told Deccan Herald that there was a huge advertisement mafia in the skywalk construction business. He said, "The Palike should construct them, without being lured by advertisers. The skywalks should be built only in places where there is high population and wide roads. They should have escalator, automatic lift and staircase, so that senior citizens can also use them."

‘Pedestrians important’

BBMP superintending engineer, K T Nagaraj, said, “Under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis, advertising companies in the past had built skywalks. But now, we will build them only as per the government order and later hand them over to the highest bidder for a period of 20 years, to put up advertisements.”

He emphasised that BBMP would keep pedestrians in mind, while constructing the skywalks.

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