Poorly maintained footpaths and disappearing pavements have added to the pedestrian woes' in the city.
Pedestrians seem to be hamstrung by the space crunch in the city and they blame it on the lack of scientific planning to make the roads here safe for the common citizen.
P. X. Joseph, a former government employee who is settled in Kochi for the last one decade, said that shops and commercial establishments have usurped footpaths denying pedestrians a safe walking path in many areas in the city.
“Take the example of the busy Broadway here. How can we walk along the walkway that has been encroached by the traders? To add to the existing problems, many of them keep their products meant for sale on these pavements,” he said.
For people like Sindhu G., a senior official with a central government office here, crossing the major roads in the city is like a tightrope walk. “We find it difficult to cross the roads especially near the North railway overbridge, Kacheripady and the entire M.G. Road stretch. The policy makers, who often voice support for reducing the number of vehicles on the streets, are actually taking care of the motorists rather than those people who prefer walking,” she said.
Kochiites have urged the authorities to step up facilities for pedestrians in the city considering the increasing number of pedestrian deaths reported in the region. “We want the Kochi Corporation and the government to repair the faulty signage besides marking zebra crossings at busy junctions. Pedestrian foot overbridges should be set up at places like Vyttila, Kaloor and Menaka junction to ensure the safety of the pedestrians,” said Anilkumar V., a government servant who prefers walking instead of travelling in a bus or car in the city.
People also accused the Kochi Corporation and the Public Works Department of not taking adequate steps to maintain safe walkways in the city.