Choked footpaths leave little space for pedestrians


Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, November 25

Fast paced urbanisation is expanding the holy city like never before. Its biggest fallout is the widespread commercialisation with the humble pedestrians being biggest victim as they do not find enough space, safety and friendly infrastructure to move on the roads.

To facilitate the smooth plying of fast moving vehicles, a large number of key roads have been made one-way. On these roads, the flow of vehicles hardly halts while there is no logistic help like zebra crossing and other road signs to ensure the safe crossing of pedestrians.

Anil Vinayak, a resident of Race Course road, said in the current traffic scenario, the elderly and children can not cross key roads without assistance.

He said fast moving vehicles enabled the commuters to zip past everything, literally in a tearing hurry while endangering the lives of fellow commuters. Pedestrian safety norms remain are simply not complied with.

The statement that ‘roads are for everyone’ does not seem to fit in this city, especially in the case of pedestrians. Changing traffic scenario is throwing up a gamut of problems. So pedestrians, especially children and the elderly, may find themselves in situations where it is important to know the essentials needed to stay safe. They must be mindful of surroundings and aware of the rules to go a long way. Ordinary outings like simply walking to a school and undertaking a trip to a nearby market have become a challenging task, said Vinayak.

Jarnail Singh of Rani Ka Bagh locality said the tendency of shopkeepers to display goods on footpaths, outside their shops, besides plying carts selling commodities, leave little or no space at all for the road’s original users, the pedestrians. For instance, the footpaths from the Railway Link road to the Cooper road, Dausandha Singh road to Crystal Chowk, on the Court road and the Mall have been encroached upon. There is hardly any footpath for the people to walk in markets. In such a situation, pedestrians have to walk on roads, which are already under fast moving vehicles.

Thus, the very purpose of having footpaths is being defeated as these are being used for everything else but for walking.

Amandeep Kaur, ADCP (Traffic), said she would take up the matter with the Municipal Corporation to provide zebra crossings and other relevant infrastructure for the pedestrians. The ADCP said the problems regarding traffic could only be resolved with the cooperation of public, police and civic authorities. But before that the public has to develop qualities of patience, discipline and respect for traffic rules. She pointed out that hotels were being built without space for parking, IELTS centres were being run from a little space while vehicles were being parked on roadsides. The number of vehicles is increasing every day but no new parking slot has been added all these years, she pointed out.