In a move that will benefit lakhs of Mumbaiites, the BMC is drafting a footpath policy to make the side-strips more walker-friendly. While the policy is yet to be finalised, one of its significant provisions includes clearing walkways. Senior civic officials said even shops, booths and vendors will not be allowed on footpaths. Ward officials will be responsible for clearing garbage, encroachment, hoardings, poles or anything that causes hindrance.
According to the Development Plan (DP) 2034, 51% of all trips in the city are on foot, with close to 80% of them lasting for less than 15 minutes. Walking is a common mode of transport at the start and end of every commute. But a major part of the city does not have proper infrastructure for pedestrians. A senior civic official said, “We are still drafting the policy. The main aim is to make the footpaths more walker-friendly for which we are looking at a better method to reinstate footpaths after trenching. The policy should be finalised in the coming weeks.”
Activists have repeatedly pointed out how walking has become tedious and even dangerous for the citizens in most of Mumbai.
The policy comes days after civic chief Ajoy Mehta spoke about the pitiable state of footpaths in a press meet. Mehta said the footpaths are so bad he cannot take his old parents for a walk in the city.
Citizens, however, are sceptical of the implementation of the policy. Rishi Aggarwal, activist and founder of ‘The Walking Project’ said, “These policies should not end up being old wine in a new bottle. We need to work at better implementation as BMC has been coming up with these ideas and policies.”
The Walking Project’ is a group of citizens working towards creating more pedestrian-friendly streets in the city.
In 2014, BMC had brought in the pedestrian-policy which aimed to clear footpaths outside railways stations. The policy mandated a footpath 1.8m wide for roads up to a width of 60 feet, and a minimum 3m wide for roads with a width of 90 feet. While pilot projects were initiated in the western suburbs, the policy lost momentum.