Where have city's footpaths gone, pedestrian wonder

With rampant construction and repair activity going on across the city, pedestrian groups complain that there is no place to walk

Work on roads, pipelines and other infrastructure has made walking on the streets a nightmare for Punekars. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not paid heed to building or maintaining the footpaths, which are altogether missing at many places.

Foothpath or parking lot? Low-level footpaths in the city invite four- and two- wheelers to encroach the area, forcing citizens to walk on the roads. Pic/Mohan Patil

“The tragic part is that even where provided, footpaths are found to be unusable and unsafe, one reason being that they are uneven. A footpath needs to be at a level of 150 mm above the road to ensure grade separation and prevent encroachment by vehicles. But it should not be higher than 150 mm as that would be a problem for senior citizens. But at various places, proper grade separation is not being maintained,” said Prashant Inamdar, convener of pedestrians group, Pedestrian First.

“Vehicles easily gain access to the footpath due to their low levels. The pavements are blatantly misused for parking two-wheelers, and even cars, SUVs and tempos. This blocks passage for pedestrians who then have to walk on the carriageway. In such cases the footpath exists only on paper in PMC records. This also results in wastage of public money spent on construction,” added Inamdar.

Citizens are fed up of the situation. Kiran Pisal, a resident of Sadashiv Peth, said, “There is no space for pedestrians to walk. Footpaths are not made properly and after the work is completed, they are at such a low level that vehicles are parked over it.”

A senior engineer from PMC said, “Various works going on in the city are given on contract to private contractors, and our engineers keep monitoring their work. If citizens have any suggestions and complaints, they can contact the local engineer or come to the main PMC office. Footpaths are made according to the standard format, and if they are encroached our anti-encroachment department takes action.”

Pedestrian group’s gripe

When roads are resurfaced, the new layer of concrete or tar is laid on the existing road surface. So the road level rises, bringing it at the same height as that of the footpath. Footpaths dismantled during roadwork are of the road.

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