Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Wednesday said he cannot take his elderly parents for a walk in the city, commenting on the pitiable condition of footpaths in the city. He said creating pedestrian-friendly streets is a priority for the administration.
As a planning authority, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is responsible for maintaining roads and footpaths in the city. Mehta, at a media interaction on Wednesday, said, “I have elderly parents aged 92 and 88 living with me. I cannot take them for a walk in the city. I ask my officials if they can take their parents for a walk. Pedestrian-friendly streets are a priority for us.”
According to 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.
In the recent Unclog Mumbai series published by Hindustan Times, experts had emphasised the need for pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly streets in the city, as eco-friendly modes of transport. In an interview with HT, Mehta had said the BMC was looking at promoting both concepts.
Talking about the BMC’s recent tussle with the Bombay Gymkhana to acquire a part of their land to widen the Hazarimal Somani Marg at Fort and create a pedestrian-plaza, Mehta said this is the first time the BMC is looking at acquiring land to create a footpath and not a road. “We have already written to the city collector and are positive about widening the road,” Mehta said.
The BMC’s plans of eating up the mighty gymkhana’s land to widen the road have not gone down well with the 141-year old institution.
The civic chief also said the BMC as a policy will not allow any structures on footpaths. “We don’t want any new shops, chowkies or any shanties. As a civic body, we are authorised to demolish any illegal structures on the footpath and we have been doing it.”