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Pedestrian issues

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Pedestrian Infrastructure
An Indian Express reporter called to ask if I could write a 200 page note on pedestrian issues in the city, perhaps since I was part of the PRAJA team that had filed a PIL in this behalf in the High Court (check here, for more on that). The following is what I had sent:
 
The day is not far off when it's going to become more and more unviable for a large majority of the population to take out their personalised forms of transport (car or two-wheeler) for their daily commute. And, in fact, that's how it should be, since otherwise we are going to be increasingly getting log-jammed in our vehicles, just outside our gates, on most week-days (more on that, may be accessed here). The need therefore is for the use of public transport, more and more. In such a scenario, the significance of proper pedestrianisation, to negotiate the "last mile", needs to attract far more attention than it has been accorded so far.
 
TenderSure roads have set a new standard for footpaths (check here, for debates on the subject). However, the recent heavy rains, and floodings thereof, have exposed design short-comings in them in the matter of storm water drainage. As such, while the government's proposal to extend the TenderSure coverage to roads across the city is most welcome, this aspect needs to be given greater attention. 
 
The design could also allow for a lot of the storm water to soak into the ground through re-charge pits, positioned at regular intervals along the drains, with only the excess water being drained out. 
 
A matter that does not appear to have been covered by earlier commentators is the lack of proper refuges in the medians at pedestrian crossings at grade. This requires particular attention, particularly with road widths becoming larger, and the generally one-way traffic flow becoming faster, leading to it becoming almost impossible for pedestrians to cross the entire width of the road at one go.  
 
Still another problem faced by the pedestrian is the presence of shrines of all religious denominations (very often alongwith huge concrete arches), as also the flag-pole pedestals of the likes of Kannada Rakshana Vedike, right across the footpaths. Even with enough court rulings, some from the Supreme Court (check here) itself, ordering their removal, the powers that be are reluctant to touch them, exposing them to "contempt of court" proceedings. The question that arises is when many cities - Jabalpur (check here), Kochi, Mumbai, Chennai, etc, have set worthy examples in this behalf, why should the authorities in Bengaluru continue to shirk from their duties? 
 
And yes, quite as Prof Srihari has commented, most "foot-over-bridges" that have come up of recent are mere revenue-oriented in their overall design, than from a pedestrian facilitation outlook. More on that, can be seen here.  
 
What got published however was a truncated version, accessible here. Fair enough, I am not complaining. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
 

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Sanjeev's picture

Long way to go for Inidna Mindset on these fascilites

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Hello Murali,

Its mindset, these are treated as Luxury  for pedestrain.

Unless the decision makers r put into these hardship,  things will not improve.

Ministers, CM, Governor, PM should be provided option to cross busy roads risking there life, then  things will change

murali772's picture

why not run utility lines, ducts, etc below the carriage-way?

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Currently, all utility lines, ducts, etc are buried largely below the foot-paths. Except in the case of TenderSure (and may be to some extent the white-topped) roads, protocols for drawing/ laying them (if they exist at all) are generally not followed. This results in frequent digging of footpaths, disrupting the life of the pedestrian, the most important stake-holder, in the overall scheme of things in a city.
 
This being the case, why not shift all of the utility lines, ducts, etc below the middle of the carriage-way, where, even if the restoration work (after a dig) is done poorly, the 4-wheeler riders are not faced with any safety issues. They will have to slow down a bit - that's all. And, since these 4-wheeler riders will include even the chauffeur-driven Neta's and Babu's, perhaps the need for better and faster restoration work will receive their attention too.
 
I had brought up this matter earlier here , and it appears to have been well received by the readers. So, I'll now suggest this to the CMP drafting committee - check here. Let's see how they respond.
 
Muralidhar Rao

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