Indian Road Congress (IRC) norms stipulate a clear walking path at least 1.8 metres wide alongside a road. We checked if footpaths in Bengaluru meet the norms.
People complain that most footpaths are dug up for various infrastructure projects, but not restored once the projects are completed.
Bad footpaths invariably have a larger impact on certain vulnerable groups, like senior citizens, children and the poor who predominantly walk to their place of work.
Urban activists say that footpaths are no longer designed for pedestrians, pregnant women, or women taking their newborns out on a pram, toddlers or senior citizens.
While parking of two-wheelers on footpaths has been a nuisance for long, motorists put the lives of pedestrians at risk when they drive their two-wheelers on the footpath to evade traffic jams.
In 2022 till the middle of June, Bengaluru traffic police had booked 42,810 cases for parking on footpaths and 6,011 cases for driving on footpaths.
Pedestrians have to watch out for loose cables and electric wires hanging on footpaths, and navigate construction debris, and tables and hoardings put up by commercial establishments.
Vendors on footpaths are a contentious issue, often bringing class divisions to the fore.
Vendors say that the civic body is duty-bound to provide infrastructure to them and integrate vending zones into footpaths.
People working on sustainable solutions say the common misconception is that city streets do not have enough space, but the real problem is that the government has not allocated the available space in an equitable manner.