This is naturally compounded in the monsoon, when footpaths become even more difficult to negotiate, loose blocks, cavities in walkways and slippery surface all mean double danger as one steps out of the home
If there is a barometer to people’s plaints and pain, it is the response to citizen-centric reports that are featured in this paper. There has been a barrage of responses to our series on pedestrian-friendly, or read unfriendly, footpaths, as a result of which pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads leading to accidents and in extreme cases, deaths.
This is naturally compounded in the monsoon, when footpaths become even more difficult to negotiate, loose blocks, cavities in walkways and slippery surface all mean double danger as one steps out of the home.
We have not even touched upon the biggest bugbear of all—encroachments, which may begin with one little structure in a corner, and then go on to proliferate, taking over pedestrian access completely. The result is people walking on roads with vehicles passing only inches away from them.
We all know the solutions to these problems as well as the problems themselves. The point is when do we see action? We see slipshod, half-hearted work at most times. Footpaths are dug up periodically, and material replaced. At times, mounds of dug up blocks, stones and cement are left on the walking paths, as work has been interrupted for some reason or in other scenarios, shelved completely.
Let us begin with good signage to start redeeming this situation which has festered for too long. The first encroachment, whether it be a stall or a shanty, needs to be removed in double quick time, so that authorities send out a message for other potential encroachers who may be emboldened to undertake copycat actions.
Pedestrian-friendly cannot remain a feel-good, placatory phrase any longer. Our roads with their potholes and uneven surfaces are very difficult to walk on too. Let us not have sops but true transformation with small beginnings and jobs thoroughly and permanently done.