Footpaths Gone Death Traps? It’s Safer to Walk on Streets than on City’s Footpaths
Mangaluru: Looking at all the photos incorporated in this article, y ou will find out how unsafe is it to use the City’s footpaths, some of them recently constructed, and some already existed for years. If you look around the City, how many pedestrians are seen walking on the footpath- they don’t, because they feel that walking on the streets with caution is much safer than using the city footpaths. Apart from open pits right in the middle of the footpaths, loosened footpath concrete slabs etc – apart from these safety hazards, the condition of the footpaths is so poor, that most of the places the street vendors have encroached, people constructing house use the footpaths for dumping all the construction material. People use footpaths to park their vehicles also.
City’s footpaths are for daring people who can manoeuvre the open drains, sand pits, big potholes, other obstacles and parked vehicles. But I sometimes during my morning walk, use the city footpaths because I believe “Darr ke aage jeet hai”. The city administration should make sure that they construct footpaths of safe standards and pedestrian friendly, otherwise, few years from now, even archaeological survey of India would struggle to find where was the footpath. Another major problem facing the commuters/pedestrians is that, when the roads are dug for concretization the city’s footpaths take a severe beating. Some footpaths in city’s main thoroughfares have vanished pushing the pedestrians into direct confrontation with the city’s killer public transport system. This education hub is now like a middle-aged bachelor, with the government and MCC trying to dress him up with all sorts of cosmetics while the vital aspects are being sidelined. With half the city being dug up for one or the other reason the traffic appear to be going haywire while the pedestrians are scampering for safety.
Mangaluru has a dubious reputation for being the most unsafe city for pedestrians. Nobody has investigated into that so there is no official document available for gauging the level of discomfort for the pedestrian but the way the city is dug up at present it is evident to the naked eye the violation of safety of pedestrians. School children, young and old folks, ladies and gentlemen are the most susceptible. They come onto the road to escape the open spaces on the footpaths endangering their safety. It is a carnage out there.
What is the condition of the footpath that you trudge on? Just look at some of the perils of walking on Mangaluru’s footpaths. A description of a footpath says- A path for pedestrians in a built-up area; a pavement. A path for people to walk along. But if Mangaluru’s footpaths could talk, they’d have many a tale to tell. While some could claim that they have sent people to the hospital with injuries, some others would state that they have claimed lives! Even today, when there is so much conversation about road safety, and despite pedestrians being at the fore of this conversation, many roads do not have footpaths. Or even if they are present, they are not usable, either because of defects in the structure. So why even bother to build footpaths which are not safe and pedestrian friendly? Why unnecessary spend tax payers money on something that is not usable?
Pavements or death-traps? Speaking of those woefully-neglected walk-ways, the brave pedestrian will notice that most of Mangaluru’s pavements essentially present at least one of five potentially life-threatening hazards: “Fault-line”, where granite slabs are so haphazard and unstable, they look like the residue of a major seismic movement. “Trap-door”, where a stable-looking stone-slab caves into the underlying drain, taking the unfortunate pedestrian with it. “Rope-line”, which is a skinny strip of pavement where one has to walk in single-file while doing an almost literal tightrope. “Fill-in-the-Blanks”, where the pedestrian has to hop across missing or sunk slabs along the sidewalk; or “Line of Control”, which is the white-line on the edge of an asphalted road, insufficiently demarcating a crucial border, and thus not adequately pre-empting dangerous incursions.
But here in this report you will notice through the pictures how dangerous it is for pedestrians to walk on City’s footpaths. As a morning walker, when sometimes I use the City’s footpaths, I’m sincerely hoping my city’s walkways will take me home… and not, to the mortuary, or the hospital. It is not only me complaining about these unsafe footpaths, there are quite a few other morning walkers and other pedestrians who have raised their concerns about the safety.
Janaki speaking to Mangalorean.com said, ” I am glad that you are highlighting the issues of City’s footpaths. Since this is my only way to my home I feel so scared to walk on this footpath, especially when it gets dark. Look at it, it is so dangerous, if someone falls accidentally they will be injured or die. Why is our MCC so negligent when it comes to safety of citizens. Where is all our tax money going-we need safe footpaths and safe roads”. Is anyone in the MCC department listening or just listening and ignoring it, and then take action when someone gets injured or a fatality.
Mangaluru can lead the way in attaining this developing nation’s very critical goal – to set our vehicles and pedestrians on the right path. We are at the crossroads. Now we just have to give our walkers the safety right of way. All I could say is that the pedestrians will reach home safe only, if they are alert and extra cautious. Equally unsafe are people walking on the footpath, as at every 100 mts, one can come across uncovered drains,uneven or broken concrete slabs. A slight distraction can cause a youngster or a senior citizen off balance and get himself injured. As to the damaged foot path, why the so called concrete slabs don’t last long. The answer is simple, the poor quality of the material. Who do we blame? And regarding all these unsafe footpaths in the the so called ‘SMART CITY’, the smart people at the helm of developmental projects or MCC officials need to take action quickly before someone gets hurt. Until then walk safe wit caution?