The New Wider Footpaths by MSCL are Benefitting Street Vendors More Than Pedestrians?
Mangaluru: Ever since the SMART officials of MANGALURU SMART CITY TLD (MSCL) had constructed the new WIDER FOOTPATHS, they have been much used by street vendors, for illegal parking etc, rather than actually used by the pedestrians. We are already seeing illegal parking of vehicles and encroachment along footpaths by shopkeepers and street vendors that have choked the City, thereby causing huge inconveniences to the public. Many citizens are questioning that what is the use of spending in lakhs/crores on these senseless Wide Footpaths when most of it is used for parking by four-wheelers and two-wheelers owners, street vendors, stray dogs, homeless/beggars etc.
The illegal and haphazard parking of vehicles has made citizens/pedestrians’ lives miserable. The choking of roads and footpaths in some of the main streets is already facing a space crunch right, thereby causing immense problems to the public. People park their vehicles illegally without bothering about the space and inconvenience caused by it. especially on these newly constructed wide footpaths The choking of space leads to frequent traffic jams in the main areas. The locals say that all this has been happening under the nose of Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) and MSCL authorities, and political leaders from the ruling party. They all have failed to act against the encroachers who have occupied new footpaths and illegally park their vehicles also.
Just look at these new wide footpaths being used by out of town street vendors who are making a brisk business selling flowers for Ganesh Chaturthi, and the footpaths are trashed with garbage, which the city officials will turn a blind eye against. Also look at the street vendors across from the state bank, near the fish market, who have already occupied most of these wide footpaths for their business- and no action has been taken either by MCC or MSCL- other than just BIG talks during meetings, that they will evict illegal street vendors immediately. With roadside vendors and shopkeepers occupying footpaths leaves no space for pedestrians, who are forced to walk on the streets.
When Team Mangalorean contacted the concerned persons in MSCL and MCC they said that they would look into it and action will be taken against the street vendors occupying the footpaths and people parking their vehicles illegally.- but as of now, no action has been taken, other than just promises. If MSCL or MCC is constructing these footpaths, it is their responsibility to see that no illegal street vendors occupy the footpaths, and also see that no vehicles are parked. First of all Smart City Mangaluru needs WIDER Roads & Not WIDER Footpaths! Period. These wide footpaths have been already encroached by hawkers/squatters- Has the design tried to include them? Do they have designated hawker zones?- I want to ask the Smart Engineers behind the senseless Wide Footpaths.
No doubt this is yet another unscientific and Unplanned project the Mangaluru Smart City Architect/Engineer, who is known for planning LARGE Circles in this congested City, who has come up with WIDENING the FOOTPATHS, instead of WIDENING the ROADS, which are need of the hour rather than the footpaths, since hardly a few people use the footpaths- and now already a bunch of these widened footpaths have been encroached by street vendors and parking by motorists.
Nine out of ten citizens of Mangaluru ask why even widen an existing footpath, which will surely create traffic chaos when two buses park side by side in front of the bus shelters on that stretch of the road. If you look at the present situation in Mangaluru, where MSCL has taken up a bunch of projects at the same time, has put the motorists and commuters in hardship- and the road closure and diversions are nothing but total confusion. And then it will be hard for the people to cope with such decisions spanning months in this situation.
Just because our city’s engineers went abroad to learn about the infrastructure and city’s development in countries like the USA, UK, Singapore and many others, you simply can’t implement foreign infrastructure here in Kudla, where we have a huge population, heavy traffic on congested roads, and added to that most of the good space is taken over by hawkers/street vendors and beggars. It’s very rosy to look at Copenhagen-Amsterdam and romanticize- but their socio-economic-cultural-governance is very different and rather impossible to replicate. We need to design roads according to CONTEXT and not COPENHAGEN or CHICAGO?
Another thing is that, even after a few wider footpaths are complete, people who are used to walking never use the footpath facility anyhow? Please wake up Smart City Officials. from planning BIGGER circles and WIDER footpaths– this is India and Mangaluru. Be realistic and pragmatic in solving problems, not building castles in the air.