mid-day campaign: Citizens can walk if bikes, hawkers allow it at Crawford Market
Almost all footpaths at Crawford Market, Girgaum and Mohammed Ali Road have been taken over by two-wheelers and vendors
The walk between his perfume shop, Surrati, on Mohammed Ali Road to his mosque located just five minutes away is possibly the most annoying part of 68-year-old Kamruddin Kazi's day. On days he is in a hurry, Kazi is forced to walk on the road to avoid the crowd on the footpath, which crawls along because of the double parking of motorbikes. Passing two-wheelers have collided into him more times than he can remember.
Two-wheelers parked on the pavement opposite Bohra Masjid. Pic/Suresh Karkera
No one is interested in finding a solution
This is with reference to the reports on Mumbai's missing footpaths. Every suburb in this city is space starved, hence the minuscule space on footpaths, too, is being encroached for parking and other things. There is no space for people to walk on. Senior citizens and children are forced to walk on the roads in the middle of traffic. We have complained numerous times to the BMC and to the police, but they do not seem interested in finding a solution to the mess. Citizens have to look out for their own safety. Politicians are not interested in doing any real work.
Two-wheelers parked on the pavement in front of Saifee Hospital at Charni Road. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Shiraz Zainuddin M
mid-day has done an excellent job taking up the issue of disappearing footpaths. The situation in Borivli is simply impossible to bear. There are footpaths here that have become parking spaces for cars and autos. Who has allowed this? This is definitely illegal. Can the authorities not see what is going on, or are they hand-in-glove with the people who are using footpaths as parking lots. What would help is allowing parking under bridges and flyovers. This will greatly reduce the dependence on footpaths for parking. Authorities must consider things logically, because walking on the roads is simply not an option.
Two-wheelers brazenly parked on the footpath at Crawford Market. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The scenario isn't any better at Crawford Market. Despite their daily struggles, pedestrians like 38-year-old Seema Bade, feel bad for motorbike owners who park on footpaths. "Marketplaces are crowded and it is difficult to walk here, but those who park on the footpath do so because they cannot afford the expensive pay and park option. The government should provide sufficient parking so that even pedestrians are benefited," said Bade, who works at Crawford Market.
Aisha Sayyed Abdul Rehman, 70, who has been selling jewellery on a cart for the past 50 years, suggested that the raised platform meant for potted plants be removed to make way for bikes and pedestrians.
Apart from office-goers, during peak hours, it is a struggle for 19-year-old Ananya Gupta, a second year student from JJ College of Architecture, and her classmate, Indrajeet Chavan, to get to class on time. "Between 4pm and 6 pm, people throng the footpath thanks to hawkers and we are forced to walk on the road," said Chavan. The opinion was unanimous. Vehicles need alternative parking to make way for pedestrians.
Apart from office goers, students of Sophia College and Hinduja College suffer since they often have to choose between working their way through a crowd walking on the footpath or opt to walk on the road. "Since I live nearby, I walk to college every day. During peak hours, it easily takes me nearly half an hour to walk to college since people walk really slowly. Footpaths are meant for people to walk on and no one should be parking here," said 19 year old Rupal Zaveri, a third year student of Hinduja College.
Mohammed Ali Road
Thousands of people who visit the market areas at Mohammed Ali Road and Crawford Market in Fort are forced to walk on the road. Long stretches of Mohammed Ali Road have motorbikes parked on either ends of the footpath making it impossible to walk. "I have been walking to my shop and to the mosque for the past 50 years and with the growing population, it has only gotten worse. Hawkers on the footpaths are already a menace. To top that, people park their motorbikes in any way they like," said Kamruddin Kazi.
'I have often seen people trip and fall because there is simply no space to walk. The platform meant for plants is useless as the rats come and chew them off every time the civic officials plant new ones. I have suggested to the Pydhonie police many times to remove these platforms," she said.
Aisha Sayyed Abdul Rehman, Crawford Market
'I come to Mohammed Ali Road quite often and walk from Girgaum. You try to dodge the motorbikes parked on the footpath and then you have the bad paver blocks to deal with. How is anyone supposed to walk in this city?'
Prabha Shinde, Girgaum
'Footpaths in South Mumbai, especially Nagpada, Madanpura and Mohamad Ali Road, are in bad shape. Every inch of footpath is either encroached on or in bad condition due to which pedestrians are inconvenienced. Some strict measures are needed to clear these footpaths. The BMC should set up a separate mechanism for effective implementation of pedestrian first policy, otherwise it will never be implemented'
Rais Shaikh, Madanpura corporator, launched Right to Walk campaign
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