Hyderabad Metro Rail plans to provide enough space for pedestrians to walk along the 72-km route on both sides, even while incorporating the perceived obstructions like trees, junction boxes, vendors and others into the design

While there are complaints about obstructions on the footpaths like trees, junction boxes, vendors and others, the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) is planning for ‘inclusive’ footpaths having all these, yet wide enough for pedestrians to walk.

The elevated metro rail is being built across the three dense traffic corridors of the twin cities – L.B.Nagar to Miyapur, Falaknuma to JBS and Nagole to Shiparamam — totalling about 72 km, it means little above 140 km of footpaths on both sides.

HMR authorities are keen on having proper and aesthetically built footpaths with the near required widths of two to three metres going up to 15 feet near the stations in at least 100 km of the road stretches where the project is being built.

“A sidewalk is the soul of the city. All over the world, there is a movement for reliable public transport, public spaces and footpaths,” says HMR Managing Director N.V.S. Reddy. Enabling citizens to walk is the solution to most urban problems because “if you don’t have public transport it will only lead to more private vehicles, more air pollution and bigger carbon footprint,” he avers.

Besides, making footpaths accessible to all users including the disabled, safe, continuous, etc., Mr. Reddy is confident of incorporating most of the existing “obstructions” into the overall design. “We cannot wish away streetlights or trees or vendors. With innovative designs we can better utilise the space between the kerb and walking zone,” he says.

Buffer space

For instance, landscaping or trees or even lights can serve as a buffer space between pedestrians and the traffic even while ensuring no obstructions to those walking. Vendors too can be similarly accommodated facing the footpaths and not accessible to the motorised traffic as was done in cities like Bangkok.

The MD says that elevation over the carriageway, adequate cross slope for stormwater run-off, yet low enough for pedestrians to step in or out, surmountable gratings over tree pits to increase effective widths, well connected table drains, etc., are necessary and would be attempted on the metro zones. Openings can be marked by cobbled stones too.

HMR has also engaged IIT Delhi for a report on the integration of pedestrian facilities and non-motorised transport at all metro stations and within three kilometres radius, he adds.

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