Lack of proper footpaths irritates Bengalureans

City Governance Rural Karnataka

Some say they prefer to walk on the road

Bengaluru: Lack of proper footpaths in the city is inconveniencing citizens.

What particularly galls them is that, in some places, drain covers are used as footpaths. The covers are broken in many places.

“Some time ago, I almost fell in a gap in a footpath,” Mahesh Sharma, a pedestrian, informed The Observer. He does not trust civic agencies anymore, he added. 

Because makeshift footpaths have cracked at many places, pedestrians are forced to walk on roads, reducing space for vehicles. According to data collected by the Footpath Initiative, an NGO, 44% of deaths related to road accidents are associated with pedestrians. 

Sri Pradeep Karanpatti, a software engineer, said: “Cracks in footpaths suck. I am afraid people might fall into them. I have seen this for long, but there has been no improvement.”

According to Indian Road Congress guidelines, footpaths should be wide enough, provide space for street vending activities and also have bollards to prevent vehicle parking. These guidelines are barely followed in the city.

However, Reashma P, an assistant professor at the Global Academy of Technology who has researched pedestrian safety, said footpaths are getting better under the TenderSure project. “If you look at M.G. Road, Commercial Street, Richmond Road and many other parts…, the footpaths are really good. All this happened under the TenderSure project.” 

Under the project, the Karnataka government has allotted Rs 17,802 crore for road development and promised pedestrian-friendly footpaths. The BBMP has so far spent Rs 200 crore to build footpaths. The four-phase project is in its second phase now.

Loose slabs on footpaths cause a threat to pedestrians, especially, during the rainy season. In the past, a nine-year-old child fell into a gap in a footpath during heavy rain and died.

“I remember how that small girl fell into a gap in a footpath. It is so scary,” shared Madesha A, a pedestrian. He sometimes prefers to walk on roads.

Sundhar Babu, another pedestrian, said: “When there are no footpaths, we walk on roads. What other option do we have?” Footpaths are for pedestrians, not for any commercial purpose, he added.

Reashma said: “In India, problems related to road safety are not considered major problems. That is where the issue lies.” People will get to walk on proper footpaths, but it will take time in a country like India.


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