Save Pedestrian Infrastructure in India

  • by: Syed Tanveeruddin
  • recipient: Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, MoUD, Civic bodies, State Govts, GoI
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Last Update:
Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 10:45ours IST Indian Std. Time
"Footpaths make all the difference" The Hindu, Sun, Nov 22, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/22/stories/2009112260561800.htm
http://www.cseindia.org/campaign/apc/pdf/Walkability.pdf
http://www.cseindia.org/pdf/Walkroundtable.pdf
Press Release :EPCA decides on action plan for eight critically ...
http://www.cseindia.org/AboutUs/press_releases/press-20090612.htm
CSE steps in for pedestrians - Delhi - Cities - The Times of India
 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Delhi/CSE-steps-in-for-pedestrians/articleshow/4650455.cms
Indian code for the Pedestrian Facilities 5- IRC 103-1988, recommends following norms: Footpath on both sides. Minimum width of 1.5m or 5ft on both sides. Dead width of 0.5m or 1.64 to 2ft and 1m or 3.28 to 3.5ft to be added to footpath along houses, buildings, trees, fences and commercial or shopping areas respectively. Footpath width to be increased in cases of bus stops and recreational areas.

Broken, unpaved, discontinuous footpaths, lengthy foot overbridges and roads designed only for high-speed traffic
- that's Delhi for you.Even though 38% of all commuting "trips" in the city are pedestrian trips, the city scores miserably when it comes to road infrastructure for this category of road users, reveals a study carried out by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

In an earnest attempt to make the city more walkable, CSE is now planning to write to UTTIPEC to deny approval to any road project in the city which doesn't have adequate facilities for pedestrians. "Everyone is concerned about the rising pollution levels in Delhi. Even as more than one-third of Delhi walks and another 30% walk and then take a bus, the government does not plan for this lot. All policies are for the cars. We are going to push for legislations that pedestrians must be given priority in all projects being planned in the city, otherwise they shouldn't be cleared,'' said CSE's Sunita Narain.

Narain added that all projects abroad are first put through a public scrutiny. But in Delhi, even the numbers that form the basis of planning are not made available to anyone.

The consensus was reached at the end of a three-hour marathon round table, organised by the organisation on Friday, which had representatives from civic bodies, road maintenance agencies and experts in attendance. At present, the planning for every road project starts with the number of Passenger Car Units (PCUs), an indication of the importance given to vehicles. Experts expressed the opinion that with changing demographics and much development taking place in the field of public transport before the Commonwealth Games, pedestrian facilities need to be integrated into every project. "It is worrying that the share of public transport ridership has dropped from 60% to 43% in Delhi. As all public transport trips begin and end with walking trips, the emerging modes like BRT, Metro and upgraded buses can't work unless they are supported with pedestrian facilities,'' said Narain.

Added Romi Roy, a consultant with UTTIPEC: "The aim should be to have everything, except for work, within walking distance of every Delhiite.

''Delhi government's sole solution to all pedestrian problems in the city FOBs also came up for scrutiny, with experts saying they are hardly user-friendly. Said Prof Nishi Mittal of CRRI: "A person has to walk at least thrice the distance if s/he opts to use a FOB as against crossing the same road at grade. And that happens at a huge public expense. This means that you are decreasing the speed of a road user who already has the lowest speed. The norm should be to have pedestrians crossing at grade and other vehicles going up or down that level.

''Just creation of infrastructure is not enough. Officials pointed out that maintaining it is another major problem. As Colonel A K Bhasin, corridor manager of the pilot BRT corridor pointed out: "One of the major challenges before us is to keep cars and bus off the footpaths. This unauthorised parking eats on space created for pedestrians.

''CSE conducted random surveys in the Delhi city to assess the state of walking facilities and shockingly, none of the locations met international norms. Even as the pilot BRT corridor fared the best amongst all sites surveyed, it too didn't meet all the norms as crossings were not upto the mark. All residential colonies scored poorly, and at several places, walking space was surrendered to parking of cars. The main points of complaints included uneven surface, potholes, urinals and height of the pavement. Unfortunately, the obsession with seamless, signal free travel for motorised vehicles through flyovers, expressways and elevated ways, was increasing distances and travel time for walkers.

Press Release :EPCA decides on action plan for eight critically ...

http://www.cseindia.org/AboutUs/press_releases/press-20090612.htm


CSE releases its new findings on how walkable are our cities?
June 12, 2009

Even today one third or 1/3 of Delhi%u2019s daily commuters walk to work. But they face policy neglect

None of the Delhi localities surveyed for walkability have superlative qualities
. But the dedicated pedestrian path in BRT corridor is the best amongst all

Worst are the localities of poor people that have high pedestrian volume but worst infrastructure

To increase the share of public transport ridership cities will need good pedestrian network

Policies are too weak to protect pedestrians and their right to walk

New Delhi June 12, 2009:
Centre for Science and Environment has released its latest findings on how walkable are our cities in a roundtable organised in the capital today. This exposes the startling fact that even today one third of Delhi%u2019s daily commuters walk to work. On a nation-wide basis share of walkers varies between 16 to 57 per cent of al trips depending on the nature and size of the city. Yet walkways are victims of policy neglect.

The stark evidence of this neglect is high number of fatalities in road accidents. The total number of accidents in Delhi is almost 2.5 times higher than that of Kolkata, and 2.1 times higher than Chennai. Only pedestrians in Delhi account for 47% of fatalities in the city. The walkers remain invisible in the maze of motorized traffic that chokes our roads. They walk in extremely unsafe and hostile conditions, in constant conflict with motorized traffic and are easy victims to crashes and accidents.

This is extremely worrying at a time when the cities are in the grip of paralyzing mobility crisis and pollution. The share of public transport ridership has already dropped dangerously from 60% to 43% in Delhi. As all public transport trips end and begin with walk trips the emerging public systems Metro, BRT, upgraded buses cannot work optimally if these are supported by a good pedestrian network. Any attempt to improve the share of public transport will lead to correspondent increase in walking. Even 50 per cent increase in kilometer traveled by public transport will lead to massive increases in the quantum of walking. Roads will have to be planned with more space for walking. This needs urgent intervention to meet the present and future demand for walking in the city.

Walk the talk

CSE has conducted random survey in representative locations in Delhi to assess the state of walking facilities, -- engineering design, walking environment for pedestrians, and their exposure to traffic and safety. Locations were selected to represent different types of land-use -- The pilot bus rapid transit corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Chirag Delhi with dedicated pedestrian way. Connuaght Place, the central business district. Interstate Bus Terminus an important multi-modal interchange point. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a sensitive area. Lajpat Nagar an important commercial area. Residential colonies include Patparganj, Chittaranjan Park and Alaknanda. Delhi Haat as a recreational area. Nehru Place another business district. Seelampur Zaffrabad, Govindpuri as low income neighbourhoods.

None of the locations meet superlative international best practices
.

But the dedicated pedestrian path of the BRT corridor has scored the best amongst all sites surveyed.

All residential colonies have scored poor
.

Neighbourhoods of poor have scored worst when India%u2019s urban poor are too poor to even afford a bus ride for daily commuting
. Often the only option for them is to walk.

Only the BRT corridor has disable friendly engineering design.

Walk facilities near hospitals like AIIMS need to be hundred per cent handicap friendly with supportive tools if subways become absolutely necessary
.

The current engineering guidelines for pedestrian facilities are outdated and inadequate
. Even the basic clarity on height of the pavements is missing. Steep heights of footpaths make them inaccessible. Even the minimum width is not maintained as walking space is chipped away for creating more space for motorized vehicles.

Prominent commercial areas like Connaught place show mixed results. Some stretches including RK Marg and Janpath have improved. But Connaught Lane, link to Scindia House have problem of connectivity and obstruction.

In most places walking space is being surrendered to parking of cars
.

Focus on signal free and seamless flow of motorized vehicles is inciting jay walking and increasing risk of accidents
.

User survey brings out disenchantment of the walkers
. The main points of complaints include uneven surface, potholes, urinals, height of the pavement that makes them walk on the road.

However, pedestrians on the BRT lane are very happy with the sidewalks and have commented how their daily drudgery of walking has changed because of the improvement.

Unfortunately, obsession with seamless, signal free travel for motorized vehicles through flyovers, expressways and elevated ways, is disrupting direct shortest routes of the walkers and increasing distances and travel time for walkers
. This can adversely affect public transport usage.

Should cities legislate right to walk?

It might surprise many but India does have a plethora of laws and bye laws related to road safety, road infrastructure, pedestrian protection, and urban planning that have bearing on pedestrians. But laws are fragmented and do not add up to effectively promote pedestrianisation or protect pedestrians and their rights with any degree of stringency. Currently, laws cannot even prevent loss of walking space to widen the roads. Communities are not involved in decision making on road infrastructure.

What are other governments doing?

In many US and European cities policies are creating walkable neighbourhoods and fully pedestrian spaces. Some global examples are Kaufingerstrafe in Munich, Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Copenhagen has done extensive pedestrianisation. Zurich and Oxford streets are good examples. Buenos Aires, Curitiba, Sai Paolo, Shanghai have begun to create car free shopping streets. Studies show pedestriansation of shopping areas has positive effects on sales.

Legal reforms have also been initiated to pedetrianise as well as to reduce traffic volumes
. In London, Road Traffic Reduction Act allows authorities to reduce traffic levels or their rate of growth in targeted area to reduce congestion and improve air quality. San Francisco has enforced Better Street Policy. New York city is promoting pedestrian infrastructure. In Auckland Land Transport (Road Users) Rule stops motorists from stopping, or parking on a footpath and pedestrians have to be given right of the way.

Agenda for action

CSE is concerned that road engineering interventions once made cannot be changed easily but it will permanently decide the design of the network and influence travel choices of people. It is imperative to ensure that road design does not increase dependence on and usage of personal vehicles. That is possible only if policy focus shifts to public transport, walking and cycling.

Government should mandate pedestrian plans and make it conditional to infrastructure funding:
Investments in road infrastructure before Commonwealth Games must be linked to an explicit pedestrian plan in Delhi. Even in other cities city development plans under JNNURM programme should have mandatory provision of pedestrianisation and the funding should be linked with it.

Immediately reform engineering and environmental guidelines for walkways and make their implementation mandatory: Ensure these guidelines are incorporated by all road building agencies
.

Harmonise existing laws for effective implementation: While relevant laws will have to be harmonised it will have to be combined with more direct legal protection of pedestrian space and rights
.

Need a comprehensive Road users act for targeted pedestrianisation; segregation of space by users; system of penalty to prevent encroachment in pedestrian space; prevent usurpation of pedestrian space for motorised traffic without proper justification
.

Urban local bodies must implement walkability audits of pedestrian ways

Public transport plans must include pedestrian plan for multimodal integration
.

Zero tolerance policy for accidents

Mandate pedestrian plans in small and medium towns: The programme for small and medium towns under the aegis of the Union ministry of urban development should make pedestrian plan mandatory
.

Implement measures to reduce traffic volumes and introduce traffic calming measures:

THE WAY AHEAD

It is time to set a whole new term of policy debate that can compel regulators to seek solutions to find a whole new way of organizing cities to improve the quality of urban life. Getting good walk ways is only the first step towards creating nonmotorised space in our cities. That is the way other countries have begun to move. As cities begin to scale up public transport systems efficient pedestrian network will become necessary to allow mass of people to move through the public transport network with ease. If pedestrian traffic is compromised public transport usage will deteriorate to sub-optimal level. Reorganisation of urban space to make it more closely knit and walkable is the pre-condition to promoting sustainable modes.

Redesign cities to bring services, jobs, homes closer to enable shorter and walkable trips
. Improve engineering and environment of walkways to make walking comfortable and enjoyable and stop motorizing the short trips. Identify key areas in cities that can be freed from motorized traffic to allow the freedom of walking and cycling. Protect them with a strong legal back up.

Indian cities need comprehensive road users act. That should target pedestrianisation, mandatory implementation of basic engineering guidelines, enforce traffic volume reduction measures and maintain integrity of pedestrian ways.

Agenda for action

Harmonise existing laws:
Urgent steps are needed to harmonise laws and policies at the national and the city level for effective implementation. For instance, JNNURM programme of the Union ministry of urban development provides the mandate and resources to cities and includes provision for pedestrian infrastructure in cities; City Master Plans as in Delhi provide the template for urban planning and pedestrian space; municipal laws have rules to protect and maintain pedestrian space; motor vehicle laws lays down safety rules; Police laws can enforce penalty and compliance strategies; and state laws are expected to protect pedestrian rights. But cities need an effective unified legal framework for effective enforcement.

Pedestrian governance will continue to have decentralised framework as most policy action will take place at the city levels. But both Union and state governments will have to take responsibility to create a more unified legal framework for effective implementation.

Legislate to protect right to walk:
Indian cities need a comprehensive Road users act. The state governments in consultation with the union government should initiate a process for enactment of a legislation that will comprehensively address targeted pedestrianisation, mandatory implementation of important engineering guidelines for walkways, traffic volume reduction measures, improvement of street scape, maintaining the integrity of the pedestrian pathways and strongly enforcing penalty on motorized vehicles for encroaching into pedestrian space and so on.

Conversion and acquisition of pedestrian space for motorised traffic should not be allowed without public hearing and proper justification
. During construction or laying down of utilities it is necessary that the pedestrians be notified of the inconvenience and separate diversion route plans prepared and implemented to cause minimal inconvenience to them. It should have composite service planning in the pedestrian space, ensure continuous connectivity and easy and safe crossings. Bind it all together to protect the pedestrian rights.

Current guidelines need urgent revision to improve accessibility and safety to make cities more walkable.

The Law commission of India in its consultation paper on "Legal Reforms to govern Road accidents" in 2006 proposes that the state governments in consultation with the union government initiate a process for enactment of a traffic management and regulation act that would also include the legal rights and duties of pedestrians and bicycles and also govern their behaviour on roads and that of other motor vehicles
. Well planned facilities and infrastructure should be an integral feature of all urban roads. It states, "There is no central legislation comprehensively governing / regulating the use of roads by the pedestrians and non-motorized traffic. It is left to the States to legislate thereon."


This concern has come to forefront especially in those cities that are implementing segregation of space for road users as part of the bus rapid transit system. City officials in Delhi have asked if there is need for separate legislation to lay down the rights and obligations of all road users for better management of the segregated space. If an Act should lay down the guidelines on pedestrian movement and specify who should have the right of way, and what should be the acceptable crossing time for pedestrians at the traffic signals at intersections and effectively regulate volume of traffic. It is time to evaluate the possibility of a comprehensive legislation to enable effective action.

Pedestrian plans should be made mandatory and conditional to infrastructure funding in cities:
Effective action is possible if pedestrian plans are made mandatory and conditional to accessing funds for infrastructure development in cities. The framework of the national urban transport policy and the investments for city development under the JNNURM programme need to be linked with mandatory pedestrian plans in cities. CDP is already an instrument to channelise and prioritise funding. This will also help to leverage state government spending on infrastructure and move local action. There is one such instance in Nanded in Maharashtra where major remake of pedestrian ways has been possible as its CDP has proposed pedestrian improvement.

Building a good footpath is only a step towards freeing urban space from motorized transport to reduce congestion, pollution and fuel guzzling
. City authorities need to earmark shopping zones, central business districts, places of tourists attraction, heritage places, and even residential areas that can be freed from personal motorized vehicles. This can be combined with non-motorised transport to make services, education and job facilities walkable within neighbourhoods and also within short distance ranges.

Additionally, Union ministry of urban development has mandated cities to prepare mobility plans under the guidelines of the National Urban Transport Policy
. These plans must include explicit pedestrian plans. The plan should clearly identify ways to pedestrianise, improve the engineering variables, environmental and service conditions of the pedestrian infrastructure, and continuous walkpath at interchange points to allow multi-modal integration. The city governments must identify funding source, devise a funding mechanism that will ensure regular flow of money to the local authorities. Central government support for the BRT projects that is based on the principle of segregation of road users will be an important opportunity to create a network of dedicated pedestrian infrastructure.

Mandate reformed guidelines on engineering, environmental, safety and aesthetic aspects of walkways and make them non-negotiable:
The civic and road building agencies in cities largely follow the guidelines laid down by the India Road Congress. In addition to this the Urban Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (UDPFI) that functions under the aegis of the Union ministry of urban development and also lays down guidelines.

The current IRC guidelines include guidelines for pedestrian ways but they are old and do not reflect the newer concerns
. For instance, the current IRC guidelines are not adequately explicit on the requirements regarding the height of the footpaths. Guidelines are also weak on dipped kerbs and gradients, pedestrian refuge and types. There are also no guidelines on the timing of the signals from the pedestrian perspective or the right of way for pedestrians at non-signal controlled zebra crossing.

The current guidelines need urgent revision to improve accessibility and safety, to make walkways walkable, comfortable and disable friendly, enhance aesthetics and ecological regeneration of the public space
. Geometry of roads and walkways will have to reflect the needs of bus users, pedestrians, and fulfil the service needs. Design must allow the pedestrians to remain at city grade with comfortable and safe access. The overall road design should allow pedestrians to have the most direct route. Some universal design measures must be laid down and must be adhered to.

It is equally important to design guidelines according to landuse and estimated pedestrian volume
. Implementation of guidelines should be made mandatory and non-negotiable.

Delhi has an opportunity to move ahead as it has a dedicated body -- Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) in DDA and under the aegis of the Lt Governor of Delhi. UTTIPEC is in the process of finalising the guidelines for pedestrian infrastructure in Delhi.

This will not be an easy transition. As roads are being designed increasingly for motorists pedestrians are being pushed to foot-over bridges or subways that are not convenient for them. Pedestrian network needs to remain continuous and connected, and at grade. If separated by heavy traffic roads appropriate and safe surface level crossings should be provided. As much as possible grade separated structure should be avoided to prevent unnecessary detours to reach destinations. The placement of bollards and signages should also be specified. Space will have to be planned for hawkers and utilities including drinking water kiosks and toilets so that the walking space is enhanced but not compromised. Design of refuge islands needs to be planned well with adequate width.

The new investments in road infrastructure will have to be linked with implementation of reformed guidelines for pedestrian ways

Moreover, the level of services in terms of shade, trees, and drinking water services are very poor. Cross walks facilities are so inadequate that it makes pedestrian crossing very unsafe. There is not enough holding area in the median to accommodate the walkers. Overall environment of the footpaths is very poor. Cities need composite streetscape planning to enhance walkability, safety and urbanity.

The most critical aspect of the design is to include design features that are disable friendly. All sidewalks should have floor tactile tiles to guide vision impaired persons. Auditory signals are equally important. Equally important is the ecological enhancement of the walkways.

Moreover, while laying down utilities or during construction of mass transit it is always the pedestrians and bus commuters who suffer. IRC guideline for Utility (IRC-98-1997), recommends underground utility beneath the footpaths. This leads to frequent disruption. This needs urgent revision. Enough space should be kept for laying down utilities and safeguards built in to prevent disruption of route.

Pedestrians are not involved in decision on major road projects in cities. Also pedestrianisation cannot work if traffic volume is not reduced.

Implement walkability and safety audits:
Massive investments are being mobilised for road building and transport infrastructure in cities under the JNNURM and state government programmes. But quality control in construction of footpaths and pedestrian ways is turning out to be a serious bottleneck. The new investment will have to be linked to strict quality control and stringent implementation of the reformed guidelines on pedestrian ways.

Poor maintenance can be as much a contributor to poor quality environment as sub-standard design
. The local authority will have to establish criteria and benchmarks for walkability audits and supervise and monitor pedestrian infrastructure based on benchmarks. This will also require supervision of contractors and developers. Standards of street maintenance and cleanliness are necessary for enhancing the pedestrian environment. It is important to take maintenance issues into account when negotiating the design of streets and spaces. The expense of good designs and high quality materials will be wasted unless full maintenance can be assured. This might militate against the use of non-standard surfaces, for example, for which there may be no ready access to replacement materials. Also the likelihood of subsequent street openings for utility repairs should be assessed. If possible, major street improvements should be accompanied by replacement of obsolescent sub-surface utility infrastructure, if necessary with costs apportioned appropriately to the utility companies.

Road safety audits are carried out for World Bank funded highway projects. Adapt them for urban roads as well:
Currently, road safety audits are conducted for new highway projects. This is carried out in five stages --- preliminary design stage; post completion of preliinary design; detailed engineering design on a per km basis; construction stage; and pre-opening stage. These audits are carried out by the agencies like Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and National Highway Authority of India. CRRI has prepared road safety manual in 2002 under the aegis of the Union ministry of road transport, shipping and highways. This is being updated now. CRRI has also prepared a eleven point road safety policy. It is important to adapt similar system for all hierarchy of urban roads in cities.

Approval and clearance of all road projects should make adherence to pedestrian guidelines mandatory:
Concerned agencies in cities such as Unified Traffic and Transportation Planning and Engineering (UTTIPEC) and Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUARC) in Delhi, must make it legally binding for the road construction agencies to meet the Indian Road Congress guidelines. This should be made the basis of approving road projects. The guiding principle has to prioritise the provision of pedestrian, cycling and public transport infrastructure. For this purpose the approving agencies will have to standardise formats for submission of project details and make it available for public scrutiny.

Public transport plan needs linkage with pedestrian plan:
Cities like Delhi have begun to implement mass transport systems. With right policies this should see a massive increase in pedestrian volume. Pedestrian ways will also play an important role in multi-modal integration. This will be a crucial link between the metro system and bus rapid transit systems evolving in Delhi and other cities. Management of the last mile that is mostly a walk trip facilitates transfers from origin to public transport nodes. Delhi has witnessed conscious development of dedicated pedestrian ways only with the evolution of the BRT system. Without such facilities public transport systems will function at a sub-optimal level.

Need zero tolerance policy for accidents:
Mobility network needs to be built in a way that people are able to move around cities freely without the risks of accidents. It is the responsibility of society and the governments to protect them. Fatalities and injuries from road accidents are unusually and unacceptably high in Indian cities. There are substantial costs associated with accidents. The responsibilities of the urban planners is to design safe environments for pedestrians. Traffic and people do not mix. The future urban road guidelines will have to provide for dedicated pedestrians ways along arterial roads and at interchange points. Points out David Banister, transportation expert from Oxford University, "In the EU there has been a huge move towards reducing accident rates through a variety of measures such as slowing traffic down, separation of vulnerable people from motorised traffic, through education, and through having more pedestrian crossings and fines for violation of pedestrian space. Sweden in fact has zero road fatality policy."

Commonwealth Games is an opportunity for Delhi to rebuild pedestrian space:
Massive investments have been earmarked for the Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi. Money earmarked for road infrastructure is enormous. But this also demands that the fundamental principles of the road design by users will have to attach primacy to pedestrians and public transport. Delhi Development Authority is currently revising the guidelines for urban roads and pedestrian infrastructure. This should address this critical need.

Need special focus on small and medium towns for pedestrian infrastructure:
Small and medium towns where the problems of mobility have just begun to manifest must make these interventions during the early stages of development and growth. The Union ministry of urban development has a national programme on Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT). The schemes that are permissible under this programme include construction/upgradation of roads, and highways/expressways. It is important to make explicit provisions for pedestrian infrastructure in these towns. Pedestrian plan should be made mandatory in these towns. Pedestrian and bicyclist facilities should be designed along all roads and intersections. Designing of such infrastructure should also integrate the needs of the handicapped and the disabled.

Involve pedestrians in decision making on use of roadspace:
The current regime cannot protect pedestrian space if it is taken away from the walkers to make way for road widening and road elevation to meet the needs of motorized traffic. Pedestrians are not included in these decisions. Municipal and development agencies are not held liable if the engineering guidelines for footpaths are not adhered to; if disable friendly designs are violated. Arbitrary decisions on grade separated pedestrian ways are not prevented. Authorities are not made accountable. Environmental impact of Major urban road development projects should be assessed. Pedestrianisation should be included in the pollution and congestion mitigation strategies.

Pedestrianisation can work only if modal conflict is minimised

Implement measures to reduce traffic volumes and traffic calming measures:
Pedestrianisation cannot work if the modal conflict between pedestrians and motorized traffic cannot be minimized. Only this can enhance safety and walkability. Also city authorities should have powers to reduce traffic volume in targeted areas and peak time.

Only laws and engineering design cannot transform cities. Policy and societal attitude needs to change.

Already, in most arterial roads in Delhi the volume of traffic has exceeded the designed capacity of the roads. This inadvertently qualifies important arterial roads for uncontrolled grade separation and elevation if uncontrolled increase in traffic volume is assumed. That is not sustainable. Therefore, policies will also have to simultaneously provide for traffic volume reduction plans.

As we have seen earlier London Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997 authorises local traffic authorities to prevent further traffic growth during the peak and other periods. Authorities can set local targets that might need increasing vehicle occupancy or increasing use of other modes of transport. The Act gives local authorities in London to set targets for traffic volume reduction in an area etc.

Indian civic authorities also need to work on traffic volume reduction and calming measure, enhancement of pedestrian environment, restraints on use of automobiles and conversion of the motorised trips to non motorised and public transit trips
. They should take stock of the trips demand in the area and work on strategies to encourage modal share for walking, use of non-motorised transport and public transit. They should prepare a road map with targets and associate it with reduction in pollutant levels.

Only legal back up and design guidelines cannot help. Need change in attitude:
The urban local bodies and road building agencies will have to accept that the best way to change is to create more public transport and walking oriented movement network. Policies will have to attach priority to pedestrians, cycling and public transport. It is also important to separate people from traffic and enhance and respect non-motorised public space. There has to be social pressure to lower levels of vehicle speeds and accidents. This needs change in policy mindset.

If the infrastructure design gives priority to public transport, pedestrians and cycling the mobility paradigm can be transformed and made more sustainable
. JNNURM strategy in public transport, mission on sustainable habitat that outlines the public transport strategy under the National climate action plan and the interventions that have been planned in various cities as part of clean air, mobility and development plans will see massive mobilization of investments in the near future. It is important to influence this investment with right policies and priority. It is possible for these cities to have people centric focus while moving to higher quality of public transport and an urban way of life that is dominated by walking and cycling.

"Footpaths make all the difference" The Hindu, Sunday, November 22, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/22/stories/2009112260561800.htm 
Enrique Penalosa - Photo: V. Ganesan 8758 bytes
Parking is not a constitutional right in any country
It's a private problem that should be solved in private spaces with private money
Bigger roads and flyovers have never never solved the problem of traffic in any city in the world
The single biggest difference between the infrastructure of an advanced nation and a backward nation is its footpaths, not its highways
A bus lane will move 40,000 people per hour
One lane of cars will transport less than 2,000 people

CHENNAI: If today's cities are a battleground between cars and people, then Enrique Penalosa is firmly on the side of those who prefer walking to wheels.

"The single biggest difference between the infrastructure of an advanced nation and a backward nation is its footpaths, not its highways," the former Mayor of the Colombian capital Bogota told The Hindu during a visit to Chennai on Thursday.

But it is the quality of the footpath that determines the quality of life in a city," he says, pointing out that in European cities, large areas are roped off for pedestrians and a vibrant street life, while many roads have more space for walkers and cyclists than for car traffic.

In his years as Bogota Mayor, Mr. Penalosa widened footpaths, reduced the number of cars on the roads in peak hours, created a world-class bus rapid transit system, reclaimed waterfronts for the public, and - in a move that nearly got him impeached - banned cars from parking on pavements. "Parking is not a constitutional right in any country," he says. "It's a private problem that should be solved in private spaces with private money."

Mr. Penalosa, who works with the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy, says the criticism is common, especially in developing countries where car ownership is a sign of wealth, but he points out that for reasons of equity as well as practical efficiency, pedestrians and public transport must be given priority over private car owners.

"Only 5 per cent of households in the city drive cars," he points out. Now we have an extreme scarcity of space. It would be most democratic and efficient to allocate this space in favour of the most people - for buses, cycles and pedestrians."

Apart from considerations of equality is the sheer mathematical impossibility of a city where everyone drives a car regularly. "Bigger roads and flyovers will never solve the problem of traffic. It has never solved the problem in any city in the world," he declares.

At least every new road should include a bus lane and wide cycling paths and pavements, he pleads. "A bus lane will move 40,000 people per hour. One lane of cars will transport less than 2,000 people. Which is more efficient?"
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This petition's been addressed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, President, Prime Minister or PM, Ministry of Urban Development or MoUD, State Governments, Government of India or GoI and Traffic Police.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanveerindian/
Last Update: Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 10:45ours IST Indian Std. Time
"Footpaths make all the difference" The Hindu, Sun, Nov 22, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/22/stories/2009112260561800.htm 
Indian code for the Pedestrian Facilities 5- IRC 103-1988, recommends following norms: Footpath on both sides. Minimum width of 1.5m or 5ft on both sides. Dead width of 0.5m or 1.64 to 2ft and 1m or 3.28 to 3.5ft to be added to footpath along houses, buildings, trees, fences and commercial or shopping areas respectively. Footpath width to be increased in cases of bus stops and recreational areas.

Unfortunately, most Indian cities are not that walkable. There%u2019re broken, unpaved, discontinuous footpaths, lengthy foot overbridges and roads designed only for high-speed traffic.

Although a large %age of all commuting "trips" are pedestrian trips, the cities score miserably when it comes to pedestrian infrastructure for pedestrians.

Approval should be denied to any road project in any Indian city or town which don't have adequate facilities for pedestrians. The rising pollution levels in Indian cities / towns is a concern.

A large %age of a typical Indian city walks and almost an equal %age walks and then takes a bus but civic bodies / governments unfortunately do not plan for this lot. All/Most policies are for the cars.

There should be legislations according to which pedestrians must be given priority in all projects being planned in the Indian cities, otherwise they shouldn't be cleared. All projects abroad are first put through a public scrutiny.

But in most Indian cities / towns even the numbers that form the basis of planning are not made available to anyone. At present, the planning for every Indian road project starts with the number of Passenger Car Units (PCUs), an indication of the importance given to vehicles.

Pedestrian facilities need to be integrated into every project. Everything, except for work, should be within walking distance of every citizen of an Indian city/town. The norm should be to have pedestrians crossing at grade and other vehicles going up or down that level.

One of the major challenges is to keep cars and bus off the footpaths. This unauthorised parking eats on space created for pedestrians. At several/most places, walking space has/is been/being surrendered to parking of cars.

The main points of complaints include uneven surface, potholes, urinals, height of the pavement that makes them walk on the road.

Unfortunately, obsession with seamless, signal free travel for motorized vehicles through flyovers, expressways and elevated ways, is disrupting direct shortest routes of the walkers and increasing distances and travel time for walkers.

Pedestrians face policy neglect. Most localities of Indian cities unfortunately do not have superlative international best practices / qualities. Worst are the localities of poor people that have high pedestrian volume but worst infrastructure.

Neighbourhoods of poor score the worst as India%u2019s urban poor are too poor to even afford a bus ride for daily commuting. Often the only option for them is to walk.

Policies are too weak to protect pedestrians and their right to walk.
Walkways are victims of policy neglect. Only pedestrians in Delhi account for 47% of fatalities in the city.

The walkers remain invisible in the maze of motorized traffic that chokes our roads. They walk in extremely unsafe and hostile conditions, in constant conflict with motorized traffic and are easy victims to crashes and accidents. This is extremely worrying at a time when the cities are in the grip of paralysing mobility crisis and pollution.

Roads will have to be planned with more space for walking
. The current engineering guidelines for pedestrian facilities are outdated and inadequate. Even the basic clarity on height of the pavements is missing. Steep heights of footpaths make them inaccessible. Even the minimum width is not maintained as walking space is chipped away for creating more space for motorized vehicles.

Focus on signal free and seamless flow of motorized vehicles is inciting jay walking and increasing risk of accidents. Indian walkers are disenchanted.

India does have a plethora of laws and byelaws related to road safety, road infrastructure, pedestrian protection, and urban planning that have bearing on pedestrians. But laws are fragmented and do not add up to effectively promote pedestrianisation or protect pedestrians and their rights with any degree of stringency. Communities are not involved in decision making on road infrastructure.

In many US and European cities policies are creating walkable neighbourhoods and fully pedestrian spaces. Some global examples are Kaufingerstrafe in Munich, Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Copenhagen has done extensive pedestrianisation. Zurich and Oxford streets are good examples. Buenos Aires, Curitiba, Sai Paolo, Shanghai have begun to create car free shopping streets. Studies show pedestriansation of shopping areas has positive effects on sales.

Legal reforms have also been initiated to pedestrianise as well as to reduce traffic volumes. In London, Road Traffic Reduction Act allows authorities to reduce traffic levels or their rate of growth in targeted area to reduce congestion and improve air quality. San Francisco has enforced Better Street Policy. New York city is promoting pedestrian infrastructure. In Auckland Land Transport (Road Users) Rule stops motorists from stopping, or parking on a footpath and pedestrians have to be given right of the way.

"Footpaths make all the difference" The Hindu, Sunday, November 22, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/22/stories/2009112260561800.htm 
Enrique Penalosa - Photo: V. Ganesan 8758 bytes
Parking is not a constitutional right in any country
It's a private problem that should be solved in private spaces with private money
Bigger roads and flyovers have never never solved the problem of traffic in any city in the world
The single biggest difference between the infrastructure of an advanced nation and a backward nation is its footpaths, not its highways
A bus lane will move 40,000 people per hour
One lane of cars will transport less than 2,000 people

CHENNAI: If today's cities are a battleground between cars and people, then Enrique Penalosa is firmly on the side of those who prefer walking to wheels.

"The single biggest difference between the infrastructure of an advanced nation and a backward nation is its footpaths, not its highways," the former Mayor of the Colombian capital Bogota told The Hindu during a visit to Chennai on Thursday.

But it is the quality of the footpath that determines the quality of life in a city," he says, pointing out that in European cities, large areas are roped off for pedestrians and a vibrant street life, while many roads have more space for walkers and cyclists than for car traffic.

In his years as Bogota Mayor, Mr. Penalosa widened footpaths, reduced the number of cars on the roads in peak hours, created a world-class bus rapid transit system, reclaimed waterfronts for the public, and - in a move that nearly got him impeached - banned cars from parking on pavements. "Parking is not a constitutional right in any country," he says. "It's a private problem that should be solved in private spaces with private money."

Mr. Penalosa, who works with the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy, says the criticism is common, especially in developing countries where car ownership is a sign of wealth, but he points out that for reasons of equity as well as practical efficiency, pedestrians and public transport must be given priority over private car owners.

"Only 5 per cent of households in the city drive cars," he points out. Now we have an extreme scarcity of space. It would be most democratic and efficient to allocate this space in favour of the most people - for buses, cycles and pedestrians."

Apart from considerations of equality is the sheer mathematical impossibility of a city where everyone drives a car regularly. "Bigger roads and flyovers will never solve the problem of traffic. It has never solved the problem in any city in the world," he declares.

At least every new road should include a bus lane and wide cycling paths and pavements, he pleads. "A bus lane will move 40,000 people per hour. One lane of cars will transport less than 2,000 people. Which is more efficient?"
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