Unfriendly pedestrian crossings

Unfriendly pedestrian crossings

Many medians, of different heights and widths, have been constructed across the City to make the roads accident-free. But with the increase of stretched medians (some of which are more than half a kilometre long), many pedestrian-related issues have come up. Bangaloreans voice their opinions about the problems they are facing with the medians that are too long and don’t seem to serve a purpose.

Medians have been made to help control traffic flow, states BBMP commissioner M Lakshminarayan. He agrees that there should be a break in the medians in between so that people can cross easily.

“The higher the traffic intensity, the more the risk for the pedestrians while crossing. The solution is to construct skywalks. Around 150 skywalks across the City are being planned, and many of them are under construction,” he says. He adds that for people who are not able to use them, there are escalators and lifts being added, to make them pedestrian-friendly.

Lakshminarayan points out that the BBMP considers the safety of the pedestrian and the traffic flow as the main points while constructing medians. “The traffic police plays a major role in telling us what is required,” he adds. He further says that the medians are usually nine inches by one foot long, but the specifications vary according to the road.

B Dayananda, additional commissioner of police (traffic), supports the BBMP’s statement that they are consulted when these medians are constructed. Ask him if there is a fine levied on pedestrians for crossing over these medians and he says, “There is a fine of Rs 100 for jaywalking. And there were 703 cases registered this year till November.” Despite the awareness campaigns that are held by the traffic police for pedestrian safety, people continue to take the risk. He notes, “The mentality of the people should change and they should realise the risk. This is often seen in commercial areas. One of the reasons is because there aren’t enough skywalks or zebra crossings in the City.”

Citizens voice their concerns about these medians that are sprouting up in the City. Sarla Jain, a resident of Bannerghatta Road, says, “With improper subways, almost no skywalks, and faded zebra crossings, it’s hard to identify the spot where one can cross. Also, to walk a long stretch to get to the other side is a big task. This is why people just run across the road, ignoring the vehicles coming by. It often seems best to just quickly take the shortcut than to wait at the pedestrian crossing for the light.”

Vinay Sreenivasa, a resident of Jayanagar, points out that the medians in the City are made to make the City roads more travel-friendly for the motorists rather than the pedestrians. “Something that is more pedestrian-friendly needs to be designed in the City. First of all, high medians should be avoided and secondly, there should be a break in the medians every 250 metres, with a marked zebra crossing so that people can cross the road with convenience,” voices Vinay. He also adds that when a zebra crossing is marked, the traffic police needs to make sure that the vehicles stop there.

Another concerned resident of the City, Sridhar Raman, says that no pedestrian wants to put his/her life at risk while crossing the road. “Since skywalks are not user-friendly for the physically challenged or senior citizens, many pedestrians are forced to climb up the high dividers and cross.

Also, most pedestrian-crossing signals are just ten seconds long. So here, the pedestrians have a higher chance of being hit by vehicles when compared to crossing the middle of the road when the vehicular density is less,” elaborates Sridhar. He feels that the authorities should plan frequent at-grade crossings (medians which are at the same level with the road and have enough breaks in between, so that they are more user friendly for the disabled and elderly) to help pedestrians move safely, especially in places like Race Course Road, where there is no crossing between Basaveshwara Circle and the Race Course junction.

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