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Bengaluru footpath issues/solution

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Pedestrian Infrastructure

Bangalore footpaths are unusable at many places and the result is that pedestrians are forced onto the roads where they run a risk of getting hit by vehicular traffic. Many interesting videos are done to show this problem. A recent one by Malleshwaram Socail  is here below:

The illustrations on the video are amazing and truly captures the problems with the footpath in the city very well.

Some of the issues are garbage, debris, utilities like transformers etc..some of which can be addressed by the local community.

However the issues like that of the geometry as shown in the above picture is more permanent and needs to be fixed if we need uniform walkable footpath. To fix the problem, we need to understand the problem which are basically due to three major factors:

  • Terrain 
  • Asphalting method 
  • public attitude


Bangalore is unique among Indian cities in some ways and one of it is the undulating terrain. There are very few localities which are reasonably flat, hence we need a sligtly different approach to lay out footpaths and maintian them. SFO has a similar terrain like blr and they seem to work with a principle that "footpath is a public space" and it is maintained that way. Here is a picture of their footpath with the adjecent homes and driveways:

As can be seen that the footpath maintains uniform slope, however the driveway needs to adjust to the incline. This is exactly how blr needs it too. Unfortunately we as public tend to think that the footpath is just an extension of the property and go about making changes to the grade of the footpath to suit our needs..which then makes it unusable. Some of us go further length to use the footpath as parking space too.

Asphalting method

Traditionally laying a thick coat of tar was considered to be an 'honest' way for the contractor..what we never realized was that increasing the road height with more layers of tar will lead to a situation where the house which was built originally at grade actually moving to a lower level by several inches..hence to accomodate the change in levels we 'carve' out a driveway which is at a lower grade to adjust the offset and with that making the footpath uneven..

In other instances, in anticipation that the road level will rise, we tend to build new construction at a default higher level by a few feet to take care of the future and again causing a difference in the height of the footpath.

The only solution is asphalt milling method..which is being followed in some parts of bangalore, this needs to be made the norm to prevent the effect of layers of tar on the uniformity of the footpath.

Public attitude

We as public lack the sense of collective ownership of public spaces like footpath and always try to occupy the space in front of our properties as an extension of our personal propery. Hence go about making changes to it the way we feel is 'right'. Gardens are built, parking spaces are built etc. This needs to stop with either by law enforcement or a change in attitude which builds awareness of right of space and respect for it.


TenderSURE does make the changes possible but the costs are prohibhitive, hence modifications to existing approach is very important to have a safe and usable footpath all around the city!


srinidhi's picture

root barriers and new trees

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The need for new trees on footpaths is beyong doubt because shade and NMT go together. However there are some issues with growing trees on footpath. Bangalore has borne the brunt of planting trees wrong in some parts..we have started facing problem with roots now which seem to dislodge the footpath slabs and make them uneven..

They tend to destroy the interlocking blocks too..Hence a simple solution of root barriers are needed to solve this problem..

They can be setup very cheap but will do good in the long run for sure in preventing root damage to infrastructure around..a simple pre-cast 'thotti or well ring in Karnataka context would suffice as a root barrier..

srinidhi's picture

CMP being doine..

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Roads been asphalted during the day, the personal requests time is in the evening..driveways being done up and the more important folks get humps done where ever they want...this has been our history..and with another scenario, new house being built, all of us want to have foundations raised a few ft for simple reason to prevent water getting in during heavy rains..and another example is with the seage manhole being redone, they will increase the height a few inches just becaise bwssb expects the road height to increase eventually in a few years..

and where do we end up with is our public spaces begininning unusable as they gett encroached in every way and worst affected are the footpaths.

Now there is a chance to relook at this and try some corrections.

BMRCL is working out a CMP, more driven of the need to do so in order to get funds for the metro line from the centre. Nevertheless its an opportunity to things right.

Hence atleast in the metro corridors, we can try set things right so that public space remains public and usable by all. Please suggest ways to work with metro ppl on this. comment guidelines

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