Savdhan – a pedestrian safety programme

The whole of Bangalore is talking about how bad the traffic is and how to unlock it. But no one is really concerned about the very neglected pedestrian. Ruthless vehicle owners do not stop to allow even old people cross. There is an unwritten rule which says, "me first".


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Crossing roads has become a great challenge today where no one cares. If this continues and we choose to do nothing about it, our ‘Swalpa adjust madkoli’ attitude may cost us. The already dangerous conditions on our road may become worse for all pedestrians. We at Gandhigiri decided to launch a citizens initiative called Savdhan where we take on and tackle the issue rather than just complain.

Lack of properly laid footpaths, poor illumination of the roads, haphazard parking of vehicles, absence of pedestrian dedicated zebra crossings, pedestrian crossings and lack of awareness among road users & pedestrians are the greatest problems. Gandhigiri has come out with a pedestrian safety programme called Savdhan. Savdhan is a people’s initiative led by me wherein, we the people will create a safe walking environment.

As a part of our first initiative, we are having a walk on Sunday, the 20th of April, on Sanjaynagar main road starting from Shopwell stores near the Bharath Petroleum bunk. Volunteers assemble by 3.45 pm, and we will wind up by 6 pm.

In the west, people stop their vehicles at traffic signals or even in absence of a signal they will wait for a pedestrian to cross. Everything is just the opposite in our country. The experience that a pedestrian is left with is that of fear and helplessness. He/she is often left wondering if he should have ventured for his purchase by walk or taken his two wheeler and avoided being treated like an invisible soul.

We are all well aware that pedestrians don’t have a place in our traffic and face grave danger, at the mercy of broken footpaths and absence of over bridges. If no one chooses to do anything about it, the problem may become grave and pedestrian centric accidents may become the order of the day.

This is the plan of action we chalked out to make pedestrian safety a reality.

The whole of Sanjaynagar and all its 28 RWAs have extended their support to this cause and are working towards making this walk successful.

Objective

  • To have a safe environment for all those people who walk on the roads.
  • To ensure that every individual feels safe, while using the roads for walking.
  • To encourage children to cross the roads without any fear and instill road sense in elders too.
  • Creating an environment, which is calm and peaceful to walk.
  • Eliminate the fear factor present in people about walking.
  • Encourage walking.

Plan of action

  • Involve government bodies to support the cause.
  • Who to involve – the traffic police, the traffic engineers, the ward corporator, the local BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB, corporates in our area, civil engineers, people of the locality, all the RWA’s (residents welfare associations.
  • Schools can also be involved

If we have all this in place, our dream of having safe walking space will not be a distant dream.

 

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About Malini Misra Bhattacharya 1 Article
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6 Comments

  1. Its 2017 end almost 2018, a decade later, I wonder what has changed. Could it be time to revive this initiative? I guess with the social media being so active, we could do a lot more than what happened in 2008.

  2. Adding to my comment earlier, I had opportnity to go down New BEL Road recently. Last year I had noticed that the footpaths were encouraged/made unusable over many stretches. I thought things looked better this time. Have things really improved – may be following the Walk?

  3. For the past two years I have been trying to get the attention of the Commissioner, BMP (Bangalore Mahanagar Palike) and the police to preserve/improve footpaths. Since 2005 BMP and police have announced initiatives in this direction, but nothing seems to have been translated on the ground. A major problem is that most of the encroachments are by business interests that have been using the public spaces to make money, and have the local officials in their hands. Without the backing of a well formulated policy for elimination of encroachments, and committed support from higher-ups, local officials are unable and unwilling to take action except on poor small offenders such as fruit and vegetable vendors, who indeed may be making an important contribution to convenience of life in the neighbourhood.

    In 2006 I had prepared a 5-page note describing the different types of encroachment, and suggesting policy measures to deal with them. I had sent it to the then Commssioner, BMP, the next Commissioner, and to the Addl Commissioner of Police (Traffic & Security), who had been mentioned in the Deccan Herald as working on a ploicy on footpaths. Sad to say, I have had no response from any of these worthies.

    I live on 2nd Main, Vyalikaval, Bangalore, which had been provided with wide, well laid out footpaths on both sides, but which over time have been encroached upon by many establishments. I had suggested that this can be used in a pilot trial of a policy.

    I am encouraged by reading the original post on this forum and subsequent contributions, particularly from Mr. Krishnaraj Rao of Bombay. I would like to join forces with the Sanjay Nagar initiative announced by Ms Malini Misra. I don’t know whether I can post my note (5 pages)at this site. I will be happy to e-mail it to any one who expresses an interest. We need a strong policy, and a statement of pedestrian rights that local bodies should protect.
    S.G.Narayanamurthy
    Ph: 9880175065
    gnmurthy34@yahoo.co.in

  4. Kanthi kannan, thats fantastic, i think we got to take cue from this brave woman and do something similar in our city too.. As it is all the footpaths on the mainroads turn into parking lots and interior roads dont have footpaths. So in wake of this i would also like to know more about her efforts.
    And Meera, i also happen to see the poster citizen matters came up with at a recent rally. YOu have sent it to all welfare associations,, it talks about pedestrain safety with zebra crossings as the graphic.. truely commendable..
    keep the great work going.. our next move will be soon..

  5. Why don’t we start a Right to Walk movement here?
    Excerpt from “A right to walk” by Gurcharan Das (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Gurcharan_Das_A_right_to_walk_/rssarticleshow/3049966.cms)
    “Kanthi Kannan, a lady in Hyderabad, has started ‘The Right to Walk’ movement to address this problem. She filed a Public Interest Litigation in 2005 praying for the Andhra High Court to save footpaths in her neighbourhood. She bombarded municipal officials with Right to Information emails, asking why the width of the footpath leading from Mehdipatnam to Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital had been reduced and a structure resembling a Dargah built upon it. By March 2008, her efforts had met with some success. Footpaths were restored, parking forbidden on them, but the structure remained untouched. She discovered that no one is responsible for footpaths. The municipality thinks it is a problem of the Roads and Buildings Department, which denies it and says its job is only to build roads. “

  6. Dear Malini,

    I’m happy to see you all working for the cause of pedestrians in Banaglore. We are doing the same in Mumbai… although our method of working is a bit different.

    To see what we have been doing in recent months, please check out http://friendlyghost.rediffiland.com/iland/friendlyghost_diary.html

    I look forwarded to hearing from you. I wonder if we can fruitfully associate and collaborate.

    Warmly,
    Krishnaraj Rao,
    Spokesman,
    Sahasi Padyatri
    98215 88114

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