KERALA

Proper planning key to smooth flow of traffic



While pedestrians should, without doubt, be given the right of way, the construction of new footpaths seem to be making many roads that are narrow, even narrower. This is particularly true in urban areas. The parking of vehicles on one or both sides of such roads is compounding the difficulty. Our readers respond to how the issue be addressed:



Change road culture

Might often rules over right on the narrow roads of the State with different modes of transport jostling for space. The traffic management policy practices a kind of apartheid, although unintended, where the motorists are the VIPs and the pedestrians least important. The chaos on the roads is not because the roads are narrow; it is because there is little discipline among motorists and the benign enforcement regime treats the offenders lightly.

Hawkers encroach on the footpaths with impunity. The arches erected by political parties intrude into the pedestrian space. Building materials are often dumped on footpaths.

Haphazard parking of four-wheelers is perhaps the single most important reason for traffic snarls. Lack of exclusive areas for parking forces the motorists to stop wherever space is available. Unscientifically located speed breakers and bus stops compound the problem.

Exclusive hawking zones in designated areas can rid footpaths of encroachment by petty traders. The government should acquire land and build multi-storeyed parking lots. Vehicle owners should have no hesitation in walking some distance to their destination.

The immediate priority for traffic management is to establish a new road safety culture. A blend of educative, reformative and punitive measures is called for. Road users should not only respect the law but also have a fear of deterrent punishment. The traffic wing of the police should have adequate manpower.

Better discipline among road users and stricter enforcement by authorities can help to make our roads safe and orderly.

V.N. Mukundarajan

Thiruvananthapuram

Multi-pronged approach

With the tremendous increase in the number of vehicles, our roads have become awfully crowded and become death traps. Pedestrians are put to great difficulty, especially senior citizens who have limited mobility. The recent tragedy of schoolchildren being run over by a speeding vehicle should be an eye opener for the road transport authorities. The following suggestions will help deal with the problem: Parking should be restricted to one side of the road only. Offenders should be punished on the spot and without any distinctions between them. Wherever vehicle parking causes congestion, the road should be made one way or facility for parking at the nearest location be provided.

Pedestrians should be given their own space and drivers should be trained to stop their vehicles when someone crosses the road.

In the long term, ring roads, flyovers and making multi-lanes are the only solutions.

N.R.U.K. Kartha

Thiruvananthapuram

Need for discipline

Roads in urban areas are plagued by a slew of problems. The burgeoning number of vehicles and pedestrians offer little scope for accommodating them on these roads, which are notoriously ill-maintained.

Of course everyone, whether motorist or pedestrian, has a right of way. However, one man’s right should not deprive another of his rights. Pedestrians should adhere to their path. Unauthorised hawkers and established trade houses encroach on most of the footpath. This is an unseemly trend and should be curbed by dealing with it as a case of trespass. Staggering suitably the parking slots on either side of roads that are reasonably wide would help decongest them.

Large shopping complexes and malls should be directed to provide for suitable parking space, preferably subterranean. On severely congested roads, subway should be provided for pedestrians.

An important aspect that should be factored into ridding roads of chaos is proper maintenance. Owing to poor quality, most of the roads have gone into a state of disrepair. Timely repairs to them warrant priority. A well-maintained road will usher in order and discipline.

N. Sadasivan Pillai

By e-mail

Proper planning needed

Regarding the construction of footpaths along narrow roads to facilitate pedestrians’ passage, one has to consider two types of narrow roads: roads with shoulders the width of which are not limited by other structures and those with widths limited by other structures, usually, compound walls of buildings on either side. In the second category of roads, some have no shoulders at all. The drains on the sides of these roads should be neatly and fully covered with slabs to form an even surface with the road and provided with service covers at strategic locations. The effective width of the road can thus be increased. The recommendation about drains should be applied to all roads. Roads with narrow shoulders usually have steep jagged edges. These edges have to be straightened out and footpaths constructed in the available shoulder, with covered drains, where available, forming their outer surface. Where widening the roads is impractical, the above measures will largely mitigate pedestrians’ difficulties and facilitate vehicular traffic. Zebra crossings should be created at convenient locations and the right of way of the pedestrians on them should be strictly enforced. Organised parking lots have to be built in busy areas so that people do not park their vehicles on the roadside, which compounds the problems of narrow roads.

B.K.S. Nair

Thiruvananthapuram

Follow rules

Facts prove that our roads are very dangerous, courtesy poor maintenance, a highly varied traffic mix and improper traffic and pedestrian management. Scooters, pedestrians, livestock, and overloaded trucks and buses are a common sight. The agencies that deal with the maintenance of roads, traffic signals and footpaths have added to the traffic woes. New footpaths encroach on the roads and along with haphazard parking of vehicles narrow the roads further.

The authorities can encourage the pay ’n’ park system that, to a great extent, will meet the growing demand for parking, thus reducing the congestion on the roads. Parking bays should be strictly identified. Traffic lights should be made functional. Above all, if traffic rules are adhered to without fail, most of the problem will be solved.

Priya

By e-mail

Prioritise pedestrians

Whatever the obstacles, we must construct footpaths because the safety and the rights of pedestrians are of prime importance. First of all, laws against encroachments should be strictly enforced. In rural areas, construction of roads should be such that future requirements for widening and building footpaths are foreseen.

There should be some space between road and footpath so that this space can be used for parking vehicles. In urban areas, where road widening is not possible, parking problems can be solved by restricting parking. Construction of new buildings should be allowed only with provision for underground parking. The concept of multi-storeyed parking space in congested areas should be considered.

C. Premanandan

Palakkad

No end in sight

Pedestrians are excluded from planning in today’s urban setting. Widening of roads takes away what little footpaths we have. Space is given for drainage. This is strange, especially since we profess a lot of care for senior citizens who are the main users of footpaths. The owners of fast cars and daredevil two-wheeler riders are unconcerned about the safety of pedestrians. So long as slogans about space shortage and cash crunch continue, the problems dogging the pedestrians will defy solution.

Robert Sreenivasan

Malapramba

Prudent utilisation

Pedestrians are the earliest users of roads and therefore, their interests should be protected. There should be proper allocation of space for vehicle users as well as pedestrians.

As we cannot increase the available space, it should be fully utilised. Parking of vehicles should be banned on narrow roads and the boundary of footpath clearly marked. If tiled, pedestrians will find it comfortable to walk along footpaths.

The tarred road surface must be extended up to edge of footpaths which must be protected with railings. Sign boards must be put up asking people to walk only along footpaths.

Encroachments on footpaths must be strictly banned and violations penalised. If there are no obstacles, pedestrians will make use of footpaths, which in turn will ensure smooth flow of traffic on the roads.

P.K. Jayanandan

Kozhikode