Institute for Transportation and Development Policy comes out with an updated guide for footpath design standards

Any city to be called a developed city should not only have better road infrastructure for vehicles but should also be well-designed with accessible footpaths for pedestrians.

As the city’s vehicular population is burgeoning, the focus of the Chennai Corporation seems to have been on easing the traffic flow by increasing the width of roads. However, this development has meant that pedestrian space is compromised: the city’s footpaths seem to suffer from deficiencies in terms of design.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has come out with an updated reference guide for footpath design standards, complimenting the IRC Guidelines.

The study, prepared by Advait Jani and Christopher Kost, has prepared a model footpath divided into frontage, pedestrian and furniture zones with different paths marked out for three different zones: residential, commercial and high-intensity commercial. The study prescribes that footpaths have a minimum width of 1.8 metres in residential areas and 2.5 metres in commercial areas.

The study, while describing the height and surface that need to be maintained for the footpath in each zone, has recommended that guide tiles be installed to assist persons with vision impairments. The footpath design shows that pedestrians, hawkers and commercial establishments could co-exist without any conflict by accommodating the hawkers in the pedestrian zone and earmarking structures that prove to be footpath impediments, including utility boxes, streetlights, manholes and trees, in the furniture zone.

The research on street design was done as part of ITDP’s ‘Better Streets, Better Cities: A Guide to Street Design in Urban India’, and is available at www.itdp.org/betterstreets.

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Have you ever raised your hand to catch the railing on an MTC bus and found it broken, or jumped up from your seat as a nail poked you?

Many MTC passengers have for years raised complaints about poorly maintained MTC buses, but their woes have fallen on deaf ears.

There are nearly 3,500 MTC buses plying the city, serving lakhs of commuters. There are over 700 express buses, over 1,000 deluxe buses and nearly 100 Volvo buses. These have been purchased at a huge cost. But sadly, their maintenance has been found lacking.

“In most buses the handles on the railing are broken, the seats rickety and the buses dirty. It is with utmost care that we have to stand on the steps as many of them have developed cracks,” says M. Vijayakumar, a commuter.

Many who commute by the air-conditioned buses say there are cracks in the flooring. “This is because the chassis is low and gets damaged frequently. The maintenance of these buses has to be regular. Many passengers have complained that the cooling effect is poor,” a conductor of an MTC Volvo bus points out.

Many passengers point out that in many buses the driver’s seat is rickety. “This can lead to accidents. Besides, there is a lot of garbage in the bus and the MTC seems to be least bothered,” a retired MTC senior official says.

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