The article “Where the pedestrian is a third class citizen” (Nov. 29) aptly brings out the plight of pedestrians on urban roads. The pedestrian is considered and treated by other road users as an obstacle. Many motorists increase the speed when they see a pedestrian trying to cross the road. The right of the pedestrian is ignored even when the traffic signal is in his or her favour. As it is, the time allotted for a pedestrian to cross the road is the least, though he or she is the slowest on the road. Where subways or foot-bridges exist, they are impossible to use as they are water-logged, used as toilets, occupied by hawkers, or are simply unsafe.

The footpath is non-existent in most roads. In places where it does exist, it is rendered unusable by the unevenness, pits, electrical and other installations, hawkers and business establishments. In a road-widening campaign, the first to disappear is the footpath. It is not surprising that the pedestrian is forced to use the road for his transit, bringing with it the danger of being hit by a speeding vehicle. To add to his woes are two-wheelers, who use the footpath to get past traffic jams. The pedestrian is the least of the considerations in urban planning.

S. Ramani,

Shillong

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