Now, a plan for pedes­tri­ans

There is an ur­gent need to in­crease ‘walk­a­bil­ity’ in In­dian cities so that peo­ple can move around safely and com­fort­ably

HT Estates - - NEWS - P S N Rao

Walk­ing is one of the most ef­fi­cient, af­ford­able, and en­vi­ron­ment-friendly forms of mo­bil­ity in the city. While long dis­tances can be cov­ered by other means of trans­port, shorter dis­tances have to be tra­versed only by walk­ing. Whether it is to or from the Metro sta­tion, the bus stop, the park­ing lot or any­where else, walk­ing is per­haps the only al­ter­na­tive avail­able. Ev­ery­one is a pedes­trian at some point of the jour­ney un­der­taken by any means of trans­port, pub­lic or pri­vate. There­fore, the pedes­trian link is the most im­por­tant ‘last mile con­nec­tiv­ity’. Un­for­tu­nately, this is the most ne­glected as­pect in In­dian cities.

What are the ad­van­tages of walk­ing? Th­ese are many. Walk­ing needs lit­tle space, it im­proves health and well be­ing, it in­creases in­ter­per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion, makes the city lively, re­duces de­pen­dency on mo­torised forms of trans­port, re­duces con- sump­tion of fuel and is the most clean mode of mo­bil­ity. The neigh­bour­hood, too, is safe if there are many peo­ple walk­ing on the roads. It also makes cities more live­able.

The need of the hour, there­fore, is to design city mas­ter plans keep­ing the needs of peo­ple in mind, con­duct pedes­trian sur­veys, iden­tify pedes­trian in­ten­sive ar­eas, iden­tify cor­ri­dors of heavy pedes­trian move­ment, des­ti­na­tion walk­ing, strolling, health walk­ing, walk­ing to re­tail ar­eas, re­cre­ational walk­ing, walk ar­eas for school chil­dren, walk ar­eas for of­fice go­ers etc and ac­cord­ingly design th­ese ar­eas with spe­cialised re­quire­ments. A pedes­trian pol­icy, plans and pro­grammes, design in­ter­ven­tions and im­ple­men­ta­tion, all through con­sul­ta­tions are ur­gently re­quired. Pedes­trian ways need to be iden­ti­fied and de­signed, bear­ing in mind spe­cial re­quire­ments of the phys­i­cally chal­lenged, the el­derly, women and chil­dren. Com­fort, safety and aes­thet­ics are im­por­tant too. Plan­ners also need to keep in mind weather con­di­tions in In­dian cities and in­cor­po­rate ap­pro­pri­ate design fea­tures to pro­tect the pedes­tri­ans from harsh sun­light. Safety at night is equally im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly for women. All the above con­sid­er­a­tions are to be kept in mind at the out­set while de­sign­ing cities. All th­ese fac­tors should be in­te­grated into the over­all ur­ban design scheme of the city.

There are a large num­ber of cities in the de­vel­oped world such as the US, Canada and Europe where Pedes­trian Mas­ter Plans are be­ing pre­pared and im­ple­mented. Th­ese have emerged as an in­te­gral part of the over­all mas­ter plan of the ur­ban area. Most cities have walk­ing clubs were pedes­trian com­mu­ni­ties meet reg­u­larly and ar­tic­u­late their needs and par­tic­i­pate ac­tively in the prepa­ra­tion of such plans. Eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, hawk­ing and street vend­ing are well in­te­grated into such a plan. In our coun­try, un­for­tu­nately, lit­tle plan­ning goes into it as pedes­tri­ans are seen more as an ob­struc­tion to traf­fic than any­thing else! We seem to be try­ing to re­move peo­ple from the roads in­stead of enourag­ing them to walk!

It is high time that the au­thor­i­ties in In­dian cities take cog­ni­sance of th­ese is­sues and ini­ti­ate ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.