mid-day campaign: Citizens, traders, politicians join battle to free Mumbai footpaths
First part of mid-day's series on vehicles encroaching on Mumbai footpaths resonates with readers, as the clamour to implement city's 'Pedestrians First' policy grows
This paper's campaign against parking on footpaths seems to have struck a chord with Mumbaikars, with several frustrated citizens writing in to pledge their support and point out similar issues in their locality. Among those who have extended their support are Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, and Raees Shaikh, corporator from Samajwadi Party.
Yesterday, mid-day launched its 'No walk in the park' campaign with a front-page report on how pavement sin the the Powai-Mulund-Bhandup belt were clogged with haphazardly parked vehicles. The response from readers was overwhelming, with messages and complaints flooding in on email, Twitter and WhatsApp.
Reader Parul Merchant sent a picture of vehicles parked on the pavement near Roxy Cinema at Charni Road
Many readers wrote to support the campaign and to express hope of some positive action by the authorities. Quite a few wrote about similar problems in their own neighbourhoods, with some even sending pictures of pavements overrun with cars and bikes.
Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, which is associated with about 3.5 lakh shopkeepers, said, "This campaign has caught the pulse of the citizens' problems. The need of the hour is to clear footpaths. Encroachment on pavements is a serious issue for senior citizens, school children and disabled people who are forced to take to the roads."
He added that the BMC and local police should clear encroachments from footpaths, instead of trying to palm off the responsibility to each other. "Mumbai is already congested with vehicular traffic, and citizens need at least the footpaths free," said Shah, adding that he had moved a petition on Change.org in connection with this issue.
Welcoming this paper's campaign, Raees Shaikh, corporator from south Mumbai's Madanpura, said, "It is a much-needed initiative, as footpaths in most parts of the city have been blocked completely. I have started the 'Right to Walk' campaign with the intention of freeing up footpaths. The BMC's 'Pedestrians First' policy should be implemented so that citizens can exercise their right to walk on footpaths."
'Motorists don't just park on footpaths but even run over pedestrians there'
'Two- wheelers, and sometimes even cars, take over the pavement near Podar Hospital, Worli. The situation is further worsened by hawkers and signboards installed by shop owners'
Reader's name withheld on request,
'This is a very good initiative by mid-day. Hope it leads to some positive action. The footpath opposite Nair hospital (Mumbai central) is about 20 feet wide, but is occupied by cars parked there. This road has some heavy traffic and pedestrians, even children, are forced to walk on the road against the oncoming traffic. We have made numerous complaints, but no action has been taken till date'
'The footpath opposite Roxy Cinema (Charni Road) has vehicles on the footpath. Will appreciate if this footpath is permanently cleared of vehicles. This stretch already has four BEST bus stops taking up space'
'Kudos to mid-day for taking up this issue. This issue is close to the heart of Mumbai citizens, and the campaign could make our lives easier and release some of our stress. Not only do people park their two-wheelers on the footpath, but a few of them even drive on the pavements, endangering the lives of pedestrians. They thrash anyone who musters the courage to object'
'I am very happy that mid-day has announced this campaign highlighting unsafe footpaths. Such haphazard parking will lead to increase in traffic jams, air pollution, noise and misery to public'
'The west-bound footpath on Thadani Road, Worli, is overrun with scores of two-wheelers and vendors cooking on open fire. Complaints to the BMC and traffic police have fallen on deaf ears'
Anil R Torne
'Kudos to mid-day for launching a campaign against parking vehicles on footpaths. But why only vehicles? Most of the city's pavements have been occupied by vegetable vendors in addition to slum dwellers for years. Has the BMC any answer for this?'
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