It is the best in terms of width and provides easy access, find disability rights activists after audit of a few sidewalks
Disability rights activists on Wednesday conducted a social audit of the broad, new footpaths on Second Avenue, Besant Nagar, and found them better than a lot of other footpaths previously audited.
So far, they have conducted audits of footpaths on Police Commissioner’s Road, Conran Smith Road and K.B. Dasan Road in Teynampet.
Amba Salelkar of the Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability Law and Policy said the footpath in Besant Nagar was the best in terms of the width and other features, including space between bollards.
“It sort of bridges the gap between walkers and other requirements. Though there were hawkers on the footpath, there was access to most shops. One of our friends was actually able to go buy vegetables. Otherwise, he would have to depend on the driver to shop,” she said.
However, the activists shared concerns about obstacles, including concave surfaces, un-gated trees and bikes parked on the footpath.
S. Shankar, access consultant from Disability Rights Alliance, Tamil Nadu, said there were three factors that were necessary for a footpath to be accessed by the disabled and the visually impaired, and those with low vision. “It should be a continuous stretch without hazards, it should have an anti-skid surface with a gradual slope for rainwater to run off, and there should be warnings in case there are obstacles such as lamp posts or trees,” he said.
He also said contractors should be given training on how footpaths must be constructed to ensure access.