mid day editorial: First make footpaths safe then beautify them
Aestheticism is certainly interesting for pavements that have been in very poor shape over the years
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to remove all paver blocks on the roads and carry out fresh road repairs, recently. The city's footpaths will now undergo the same process. BMC officials plan to concretise the footpaths, and have opted for a marble chip finish, to make them look more aesthetic.
Aestheticism is certainly interesting for pavements that have been in very poor shape over the years. In most places footpaths have become invisible because they have been encroached on by hawkers and vagrants. In other places, they are broken; paver blocks are missing, creating dangerous cavities waiting to swallow up unsuspecting pedestrians.
We hope that the footpaths are repaired and made fit for walking in double time. Beautification must follow functionality. Make the pavements better for use, fill in the gaps that are present in many pavements and make clearing encroachments a priority, so that citizens are not endangered by being pushed closer and closer to the traffic.
Across Mumbai, most of the population is forced to walk just inches away from vehicles because the pavements are all taken up. This should be unacceptable to civic authorities as it is a big cause for accidents.
Footpaths have been repaired and spruced up so many times — only to fall into disrepair again — that citizens have become sceptical of any claims to beautify them. We can hardly blame them, given the authorities' track record.
This time, let there be a well thought out and executed plan to concretise footpaths and, then, beautify them. This little strip of space adjoining roads is vital for pedestrians. Give them the space they need to be safe on our roads.
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