BENGALURU: Several Bengalureans congregate at Richmond Circle to demand that pedestrians get equal, if not more, importance than motorists. Organised by civic group, Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), the gathering is to bring to attention that pedestrian interests have for long been compromised, says Srinivas Alavalli, coordinator at CfB.
“Too many deaths and accidents are seen and heard about each year. Over a period of time, public spaces have gone to vehicles, the interests of us pedestrians has been compromised. A few years back, citizens could walk towards their public transport hub, now, to get to the nearest metro station or bus stand, one has to take an auto or a cab. This is ridiculous!” says Srinivas, adding that students and senior citizens, who are most affected by this, will be present too.
“Some senior citizens have told us that they’re afraid to leave their homes, and stay confined indoors because they are afraid to walk on the road. The gathering isn’t a protest, NaDayaluBiDi, our call at the gathering is to demand our right to walk,” he says. He adds that the solution to pedestrians having to brave sidewalks according to the government are skywalks, however climbing the stairs is not easy for senior citizens. “During elections, these skywalks turn into hoardings for politicians.”
Mala Sugantha, an architect and member of CfB says that when one holistically looks at traffic controls and management, pedestrians are also give the least importance. “Even today, people who use public transport are looked down upon. People assume that those who use it, can’t afford their own vehicles - this mindset needs to change. We want proper sidewalks, not just skylines.”
Tessy Thomas, who is over 80 years old and has been championing for pedestrian safety for several years. She says that day after day, traffic is increasing, and the government needs to ensure that amenities for walkers, such as footpaths, need to maintained. “Motorists have been given priority over pedestrians for many years now, and officials don’t respond to our requests. Maybe gatherings such as this will make officials take notice,” she says.