Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I have a brilliant idea!

I have been moaning about the lack of concern for us pedestrians! To be realistic I know that nothing will be done! We are a low priority item in any case! May be nothing can be done with the way the city has developed both physically and morally.

I imagine a conversation with my well wishers would go this way! 'Why don't you take your car to the park?' and if I reply 'I can't find parking!' I will be told 'Hire a driver! He will find a way.'

This is what my friend Mouli did when he was almost knocked over by an adrenaline rushed young man driving his father's car early in the morning. You would expect an apology from the guy, considering that it was Koramangala, a prime locality! Instead he was admonished by a shout 'Stay home old man!' as the brute of a boy quickly reversed and swung away! The punya ('Merit') that Mouli had collected as a teacher must have saved him!

We all know that our roads are poorly designed, with too many crossings, except in some posh areas of the city. I had read that a corporator or a minister (I am not sure!) had a brilliant idea of creating parking lots, stealing space from the sports grounds reserved for children. I was glad to read later that the courts upheld a public interest litigation and quashed this idiotic proposal! Now you know that the asura's (devils), in spite of the heroic efforts of God Rama, are all still there in many guises. Who but a rakshasa would steal from a child!

Trying to be proactive, I kept thinking of ways of creating parking spaces for the ever increasing vehicle population. Then it suddenly occurred to me! 'Get rid of all footpaths!'

It is not as stupid as it sounds! Primarily sidewalks are not designed with the pedestrian in mind. We will never see a person on a motorised wheel chair, cruising on these footpaths without help. Such people are jailed at home or an young servant or a poor relative is literally chained to them to take care of their needs. A pity as many of them would be active and independent in a civilized and developed country!

Anyway, more importantly, no one uses the footpaths. They are poorly designed and made, except of course at important places, and users are actually at risk. If you walk around our locality, you will be amazed to see the variety of footpaths your feet encounters. If you ask someone to take a census, they may find taking a census of castes much easier!

Here is my evidence, no one uses this footpath. It is reasonably well made, except that the landlord has modified it to suit his needs.
A rare but all to brief example of a good footpath!
This is more typical! No clue what this landowner plans to do. Try walking on the sloping border!
It is an illusion to think that footpaths are for pedestrians only. Actually they have the last priority!
She thinks she is safe as she is facing the oncoming traffic! Luckily it is early in the morning.
Eureka! So here is MY suggestion!

Remove all footpaths, extend the tar road to the walls and mark a two feet path for pedestrians to use! FINE them if they stray! Why not! They don't pay Road Tax like the vehicle owners!

I guarantee it will free a lot more space for cars to be parked and traffic will be a lot smoother! Possibly there will be more accidents! Then of course you can add speed breakers, road dividers! Only way to control the unruly lot of drivers!


Ramola said...

Uncle Srini, I actually disagree with you. I would turn the road into a "home zone". That will slow down the traffic! Ramola

Varsha Nair said...

Nidhi, if you were to suggest this in Bangkok you would get into a lot of trouble with the street vendors. Where would they set up their stands with boiling noodle soup and hot oil tawas so that along with a sprained ankle (which happened to me on a footpath in Ekamai), we can also look forward to being scarred badly by burning liquids??
You are not alone my friend, and this does add the thrill of danger to a 'walk' - something people in places with a more civilised pavement and road-sense miss out on!

N L Sriram said...

I am actually pleasantly surprised that you found so many footpaths with the pavement intact - these must have been posher localities! I don't think that I could find a single good footpath in Malleshwaram, Sampige road and Margosa road were a totally lost cause, with all types of digging going on, uneven pavement where is actually existed, construction debris, pavement sellers, awnings from the stores, etc., that it was impossible to walk in a straight line even for a minute!


srinidhi said...

Hi Ramola
Good to get a feed back from qualified Urban planner:-)

It should be a blog by itself!
Nice to hear from you.

Kesari said...

Long Live our Bangalore (especially the Malleswaram ones) footpaths. But for them I wouldn't be in any shape for treks in the Himalayas. The footpaths on my side of the road on 17th Cross were designed keeping this in mind. Where else can you get a work out on a stepper for free ? Hanh ?

(aka Chiltu)

D. Raghunath. Lt Gen Retd. said...

Suggest that you write an article for a newspaper. Chandramouli could have noted the reg no of the vehicle and lodged a police complaint (for whatever it was worth)


Jogesh said...

What a preposterous idea! Roads should be demolished to create more walking and cycling space.