KOCHI: Ever felt like skipping your morning jogging session due to non-availability of spacious public space? Wish no more. If all goes well, a 'green walkway' will come up from Durbar Hall to Mangalavanam, a project under the Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML). Moving away from conventional footpaths which are covered in concrete tiles and railings, the new initiative will be eco-friendly in every aspect.
The project is still in the preliminary stage. "We have completed the preliminary concept note and will request for other approvals soon. The detailed project report (DPR) will have other details," said a CSML official. The walkway will be a part of the R 216-crore city road development project and will be implemented with a special focus on creating an open spacious green way.
At a time when Kochi is confronting high levels of air pollution, experts suggest such projects will contribute in reducing damages in the long run. Earlier, a World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign 'BreatheLife found that Kochi's air quality is 3.8 times higher than WHO safe level. "Such initiatives will usher non-motorable transport and encourage Kochiites to change their lifestyle. Conserving the existing trees on the line and planting new ones should also be the priority of the project," said Kailas, an environmentalist.
Under the larger plan, Shanmugham Road, Banerji Road, Durbar Hall Road and MG Road will be renovated. Cycle tracks, bollards, LED street lights, free Wifi poles, along with landscaped footpaths will be implemented. Beautifying the path with public sculptures and paintings is also in the pipeline.
However, the Smart Roads project will pose a challenge to officials, considering the unavailability of land in the city limits and lack of coordination with other government agencies like Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board in shifting their utilities in line with the project.
"As of now, we are improving the pedestrian pathways. We are planning to build the cycle tracks with street landscaping at available spaces," officers said.