mid-day campaign: Here is what ails footpaths outside two major city hospitals
Parked motorcycles and cars become pedestrians' nemesis, residents' headache
Heavy parking on footpaths seems to be the norm outside major city hospitals with no space to walk on it, and along many stretches, even blocking access to the main gates of hospitals. Forget ramps or safe passages for the disabled, there seems to be little space even for pedestrians, with most taken up by parked vechicles.
Bombay hospital, Marine lines
Pedestrians walking in the lane next to Bombay Hospital at Marine Lines have to risk walking on the road, keeping a wary eye out for vehicles zipping past, because the pavement running along the boundary wall of Pratishtha Bhavan is full of parked cars.
In front of a 'no parking' sign; cars parked on footpath opposite Bombay Hospital
Footpaths along the entire stretch near Metro theatre, too, are crowded with bikes. "Two-wheelers are parked on the footpath around Harvic restaurant and opposite Metro theatre, while another set of motorbikes stands on a no-parking stretch along Anandilal Podar Marg," a resident said. Kandivli resident Komal Malwankar, 25, has been visiting her father at Bombay Hospital for the past two months, said she hadn't noticed that the road she walks on is missing a footpath.
Unlike Malwankar, 38-year-old Virar resident Vinod Khaire who has been using the same road for the last 10 years, to reach his office nearby, said, "I have to watch out for cars all the time. It would be nice if we have access to footpaths in the Fort area, where people walk a lot" he said.
Saifee hospital, Girgaum
Unlike residential areas, hospitals in the city tend to attract a steady footfall. Many come there in their own cars or on motorbikes, which, in the case of Saifee Hospital, are parked on the footpath outside the hospital. The area is anyway a busy one with the railway station bang opposite to the hospital and a few bus stops scattered nearby. Work on the broken skywalk has resulted in narrowing the road, leading to more vehicles on the footpath.
Pedestrians make their way through rows of two-wheelers parked on a footpath outside Saifee Hospital. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Apart from office-goers, Hinduja College and Sophia College students also suffer as they often have to choose between working their way through a crowd on the footpath and walking on the road. Two-wheelers seem to be major offenders even here.
"Because I live nearby, I walk to college every day. During peak time, it takes me nearly half an hour to reach college, as, ironically, people walk really slowly. Footpaths are meant for pedestrians; no one should use them as parking spots," said Rupal Zaveri, 19, a third-year student at Hinduja College.
Why no strict rules for footpath encroachers?
While the municipal commissioner has directed that there be no hawkers up to 150 feet of railway stations, why does he not come up with strict rules for footpath encroachment, too? In the evenings, footpaths become impossible to walk on as hawkers occupy them. BMC receives rent from these illegal hawkers, which is why encroachment is rampant. The civic chief is requested to release city's footpaths.
Appreciate and applaud the phenomenal stand taken against a system which is not wanting to become better, however, your attempt and our support will surely make a difference. Along with the footpaths being encroached by vehicles, a majority of footpaths still have thousands of stalls of hawkers forcing pedestrians to walk on the road, which results in traffic and largely horn honking to avoid any accidents. If the footpaths are available for pedestrians then no one would walk on the street leading to the smooth movement of traffic leading to lesser honking.
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