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Hawkers on footpaths leave no space for MG Road pedestrians

Pedestrians on the busy city road are demanding that the traffic police take action against hawkers to ensure they have enough space to walk on footpaths

With the traffic police now experimenting with the new even/odd day parking system on Mahatma Gandhi road in order to ensure enough space for smoother traffic flow, pedestrians are demanding a system be put in place to ensure enough space for them too, on the footpaths that are currently encroached by hawkers and their stalls.

hawkers
On both sides of the road, hawkers encroach the footpaths with their stalls, and the shoppers who stop to look at their wares block even more space on the pavements. Pic/Dattatraya Adhalge

The traffic department will implement the new parking system at the busy city road on a trial basis, till September 30. In the meanwhile, the department is also inviting suggestions and objections from citizens, to best understand how to solve the rampant traffic snarls at the popular shopping location.

Amongst other suggestions, citizens have demanded that more space be cleared on pavements for pedestrians. During a visit to MG road, mid day found that more than 50 per cent of the footpath is been occupied by illegal hawkers, many of whom have even placed their stalls in sections of the road barricaded and marked by traffic cops as no-parking zones.

The convenor of the citizens’ group, Pedestrians First, Prashant Inamdar, welcomed the new parking system, and in a letter to Traffic DCP, Sarang Awad, expressed hopes that similar action would be taken to help pedestrians as well.

“It has to be realised that the term, ‘road users’ does not mean only vehicle users but also pedestrians and cyclists. They too have a right to use the road and get a fair share of road space. As such it is necessary that there should be equitable distribution of road space amongst all of them. Adequate size footpaths or walkways are a must on every road, and even cycle tracks should be provided where practically feasible, he said.”

“Earlier Laxmi road had parking on both sides of the road. However there was not enough space for walking. We had suggested a plan for parking on one side and making the freed space on the other side available for pedestrians by creating a segregated walkway using railings. The plan has been successfully implemented. At MG road too, the space that has become free of parked vehicles should be made available to pedestrians for walking. This is necessary, as footpath space is not entirely available for pedestrians due to various reasons, including encroachments,” Inamdar added.

Pandurang Gofane, senior PI of Lashkar traffic division, said, “We will remove all hawkers from the footpath and ensure that pedestrians can get adequate space to walk.”

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