Constructed to ensure the safety of people while crossing the road — pedestrian bridges with their few hundred steps don’t really seem to be serving the purpose.
But with crores of rupees spent on their construction, civic agencies want pedestrian bridges to be utilised in a better manner.
In a first-of-its-kind survey to assess the usability of pedestrian bridges in the city, the Public Works Department (PWD) is conducting an exercise to find out whether people are using the bridges and how often. As part of the exercise, a team has been stationed at all 70 pedestrian bridges in the city to keep an eye on the number of people using them.
According to sources, the PWD was prompted to conduct such a survey after the United Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) denied permission to construct a pedestrian bridge in Munirka stating that pedestrians do not use most of the bridges already in place. UTTIPEC is a technical body that approves infrastructure projects in the city.
“People don’t like to climb stairs or use subways for crossing roads. But at many places these bridges are the only alternative available,” said a senior PWD official.
“We want to find out whether people are using the bridges or not. The exercise will look into the use of the bridge and whether women are using it more than men. In the initial findings, we noticed that bridges with escalators were being used more by people,” he added.The survey is being done by a private firm and will continue for a period of at least 15 days. Depending on the findings, PWD will make necessary changes such as installation of lifts and escalators on the bridges. They will also decide whether new bridges should be constructed or not after the exercise.
"Senior citizens are not really comfortable using escalators, and prefer the lifts. Once the final findings have been collated, we will take a decision on whether to install lifts on all bridges. These can be used by disabled persons too," added the official.
Lifts, however, will increase the waiting time, which might deter people from using the bridges once again.