The passage less taken

The passage less taken

Through the skywalks

The passage less taken

A common sight in front of Manyata Tech Park and Sophia High School is that of people darting  across the road, dodging vehicles. There are not many takers for the skywalks that have been constructed to make the lives of pedestrians easier.

Even while many skywalks remain a mute testimony to Bengalureans’ reluctance to use them, the government has now proposed to construct three more skywalks on the Outer Ring Road stretch leading towards Whitefield and K R Puram.

The people who work or live around these areas say that they find it cumbersome to climb the steep steps of the skywalk. Some others point out that using the skywalk at night is tough because of poor lighting.

 Retish Kumar, an employee with IBM located in Manyata Tech Park, says that he never uses the skywalk.

“It is easier to run across the road than take the skywalk which, though convenient, is very crowded. I have also had a terrible experience once where my wallet was stolen as I attempted to weave my way through the crowd,” adds Retish.

Only a handful of skywalks in the city have escalators. Others have stairs which many senior citizens find difficult to use. Other problems include that of hygiene and ill-maintenance.

 Subramanium Swamy, a senior citizen, says “The skywalk adjoining the KR Puram railway station is dirty and has become a temporary shelter for dogs and beggars  I travel to Tin Factory on a daily basis and I am scared of using the skywalk at night because it is dimly lit. You also don’t know whether you are stepping over a dog or a human being lying on the steps.”

Anil G, an employee with an IT firm, agrees with this sentiment, pointing out that those constructed by the government suffer more from this kind of neglect and that those constructed under the public–private partnership are maintained more properly.

“Youngsters may find it easy to use the skywalk but I’ve noticed that a lot of senior citizens find it difficult to climb the stairs. In this context, I think all the skywalks in the city must have escalators because this will allow more people to use it,” says Anil.

The skywalk in front of Forum Mall in Koramangala and RMZ Ecospace, near Bellandur, is constructed in a public–private partnership. Abhishek Sircar, a product manager with Syniverse, points out the traffic police has blocked the crossing in front of RMZ Ecospace by raising the median with barricades.

 “This was done to prevent people from running across the road because this is a traffic-heavy stretch. The skywalk has come as a relief but there are still a few people who run across the road and refuse to take the skywalk. The choice of whether to use a skywalk or not depends a lot on social conditioning,” says Abhishek.  

And for those who do use this facility, it has come as a much-needed relief.

 Sushma Balu, an employee with Philips, at Manyata Tech Park, says that she regularly uses the skywalk.

“The newly constructed skywalk in front of Manyata Tech Park extends from the road into the tech park. Security guards don’t let people coming out from the skywalk enter the place without checking their identity cards which ensures safety. And the skywalk in itself is a well-lit and well-maintained one,” she says.