In a bid to ensure pedestrian-friendly spaces in the city, the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), a non-profit organisation, plans to start citizen-led survey to assess pedestrian friendly infrastructure in various parts of Chennai.
This is part of the campaign to lay stress on the Government of India to announce January 11 as National Pedestrian Day and create awareness on pedestrian safety. The three-month campaign has been launched by CAG as part of the Sustainable Mobility Network India (SUM NET India), a national coalition of non-governmental organisations.
Members of CAG noted that national days serve as occasions to raise awareness about the issues faced by the pedestrians. The organisation has already launched an online petition ( https://bit.ly/SUMpartners
NPD) along with Jhatkaa.org to emphasise the need for safe and convenient walking infrastructure, and dedicate a national day for pedestrians.
Sumana Narayanan, senior researcher, CAG and a member of SUM Net India, said pedestrian infrastructure was inadequate in many cities that had led to a rise in pedestrian fatalities. Citing statistics of Chennai City Traffic Police, she said nearly 2,191 pedestrians were killed between 2015 and 2020 and nearly 9,754 sustained injuries on city roads.
“We are planning to involve city residents for road audits and enable them to take ownership of the walkability issues. Data obtained from the survey would be shared with the government agencies for action plan. We must improve pedestrian and cycling facilities and also recognise pedestrians as road users,” she said.
CAG also plans to reach out to educational institutions for the audit. Recalling an audit done by CAG a few years ago, Ms.Narayanan said 11 city roads, including Rajaji Road, Usman Road and Poonamallee High Road were surveyed. Lack of footpaths, encroachments by shops and even utility infrastructure and illegal parking were some of the common problems.