Pedestrian facilities in the city are likely to get a facelift if the proposals worth Rs. 55 crore drawn up by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) receive Central government funding.
Efforts are being made to tap the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for funds. While Centre will bear 50 per cent of the project cost, the State will have to mobilise the rest.
NATPAC has drawn up the report on pedestrian friendly urban transport system based on a three-month-long field study. It suggests ways to improve the existing pedestrian facilities and bring in additional amenities besides accounting for their proper maintenance.
The Local Self Government Department is keen on the report. Rajan Khobragade, Secretary of the department, told The Hindu: “We will initiate a debate on the report with all stakeholders, including local bodies and development agencies to elicit their views, which can be incorporated in to the report. Once a consensus is evolved we will approach the Union government to implement the report.”
The proposal earmarks Rs. 22.74 crore for pedestrian facilities; Rs. 1.11 crore for crosswalk and signal facilities; Rs. 8.12 crore for pedestrian amenities, street furniture, landscaping, and greening; Rs. 8.09 crore for side drains; Rs. 5 crore for junction improvement; Rs. 4.80 crore for foot over bridges; and Rs. 4.99 crore for three-year maintenance of these facilties.
T. Elangovan, scientist-G and head of Traffic and Transportation Division, NATPAC, said Kochi comes in bottom half of a list of cities in the country when it comes to pedestrian facilities, especially ‘walkability’ of footpaths.
Walkability indicates the walker friendliness of an area based on factors, including presence or the absence of footpaths, traffic and roadway conditions, land use pattern, building openings and continuity and safety of pedestrians.
“Only Marine Drive Road in the city between BTH and the High Court has been classified as good in terms of walkability index,” he said. We have recommended removal of all such hurdles and encroachments so that a minimum width of 1.80 metre as per the Indian Road Congress can be maintained.