Pedestrian-friendly city? Long way to go, say citizens

Pedestrian-friendly city? Long way to go, say citizens

Infamous for badly-maintained and lawless roads, footpaths and other transport facilities, Bengaluru is always playing catch-up in terms of providing better infrastructural facilities to commuters. Most citizens are convinced that the city is not pedestrian-friendly, but they are ready to offer solutions to make roads better.

Bengaluru has scored low on walkability in many studies, and this issues needs to be addressed urgently. Agreeing with this is Niharika, a student of commerce. She feels opting to walk instead of choosing other modes of transport can bring considerable change in the traffic situation in the city.

“I often try to walk or cycle if the destination is close by. What hinders the joy of walking are the motorists who seldom care for pedestrians,” she opines.

Kumuda Lakshman is a homemaker who prefers to walk while dropping her children to school. She says: “Quality infrastructure is the need of the hour. Good roads with equally good footpaths are necessary.”

Footpaths, she adds, must be cleaned every alternate day and waste bins must be installed.
Littered pavements force people to walk on the roads, which could be hazardous, she says.

Archana, who is a nutritionist, took to walking as a way of keeping fit. As someone who has been observing the changes in modes of transportation since a decade, she says poor walkability conditions correlate with rash driving as well as lack of sidewalks. Privatisation of road projects might help manage the traffic and provide a relief to commuters and pedestrians, according to Archana.

Drawing attention to pedestrian subways introduced in some parts of the city, retired engineer Sridhar points to their poor maintenance. Skywalks too, he says, are of no help to the majority—given the task of climbing up and down—which might be strenuous for the elderly. He suggests installation of elevators on skywalks to help pedestrians.

Kevin Tony, an engineer, talks about encroachment of footpaths by food trucks and street hawkers in residential areas. This, he says, causes major inconvenience to the residents.

To make the city a walkable place, streets should be rid of footpath vendors and hawkers, he suggests.

The oft-neglected zebra crossing should be used by everyone, says Sridhar. Echoing this, Tony says the police should be vigilant and take action against those who do not to stick to the crossings while crossing a road.

Swamy, a businessman, sees a need to create awareness on the alternatives for footpaths. “Skywalks and subways are not immediate remedies to the problem. Instead, the footpaths need to be hurdle-free and well-lit,” he points out.

However, autorickshaw driver Mahesh has a different view on skywalks. According to him, such structures can be a relief when the roads are chock-a-block with traffic. He often sees people preferring to cross the road risking their lives rather than using the skywalks.
Voicing concern over the safety of those returning home late, he says Bengaluru city needs well-lit roads everywhere. 

Often, pedestrians have injured themselves due to uneven, wobbly stone slabs on footpaths. Fixing footpaths is of utmost importance in improving the walkability of the city.

Bengaluru, which knows no bounds when it comes to growth, has a long way to go in making the city pedestrian-friendly, feel the citizens.  

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