Walking in ‘wilderness’: Woes faced by pedestrians in Thiruvananthapuram

Footpath encroachment, shoddy infra, hazardous road crossings… TNIE does a quick scan of woes faced by pedestrians in the city  

Published: 03rd February 2023 03:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 03:02 AM   |  A+A-

Walking, pedestrians

A busy street at Pazhavangadi where the walkways have been encroached by vehicles and traders

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Inadequate infrastructure, illegal parking and rampant encroachment of footpaths inconvenience and imperil pedestrians, who are often forced to walk on busy roads alongside the chaotic traffic. 

As per the data from the State Crime Bureau, Thiruvananthapuram saw at least 332 pedestrian accidents – including 47 fatal ones – between January and November last year. Notably, on Sunday, a 55-year-old woman was fatally knocked down by a racing bike near the Kovalam bypass. 

A study by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) highlights that only 60 per cent of the major roads in the heart of the city have got footpaths. Of the total 534km of road stretches covered in the study, only 10 per cent had footpaths with widths of at least 1.2m on both sides. 

A narrow footpath encroached by shops
and cables

Adding to the woes, vehicles are parked over pedestrian walkways on many roads, despite ‘No Parking’ boards. Lack of parking facilities leaves people with no choice other than to park on walkways, the motorists argue. 

Furthermore, several footpaths are poorly maintained. “If people are not attentive, they may fall into the craters,”  says city resident Athira Murali. “Also, areas near the overbridge (Palayam and Nandavanam) have no proper footpath or zebra crossing.”

College student Gokul G K echoes similar grouses. “People park on the pedestrian lines and footpaths, forcing us to walk on the road. And at some places, the available footpaths are in a mess due to encroachment and neglect,” he says. “More speed breakers are needed in the busy stretches to prevent overspeeding and ensure pedestrian safety.” 

Notably, according to the NATPAC study, the highest cross movements of 3,538 pedestrians were found across the East Fort arm of Overbridge Junction. Chalai to East Fort Junction recorded around 3,001 movements, followed by 2,500 across the Padmanabha theatre arm of East Fort. 

Many pedestrians point to the lack of zebra crossings. However, in areas where there are zebra crossings, some people cotinue to cross carelessly. Auto-rickshaw driver Ramesh P T says carelessness can lead to major mishaps. “For instance, some people don’t check the traffic while getting down from vehicles,” he adds. “Similarly, the elderly need to be cautious while crossing roads, or ideally be assisted by someone.”  

Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajith V says: “People – motorists and pedestrians – should act responsibly and avoid violation of traffic rules to prevent accidents. In the case of pedestrians, some people tend to ignore signals and zebra crossings, probably due to a lack of awareness or due to hurry. Yes, footpath encroachment and lack of parking spaces are major concerns. ”


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