There’s a problem with the civic body’s approach to footpaths. While it allocates a budget for roads - Rs. 1,466 crore for 2012-13 - it does not chart out an action plan or planned expenditure for the footpaths.
That isn’t all. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation spent more than Rs. 5,000 crore on roads in the past five years, but it spent just Rs. 131 crore on the pavements.
Though officials maintain that footpaths are an integral part of any road project, urban planners believe the BMC’s approach is an issue.
“The focus is on roads. There is no attention to detail on footpaths,” said Rishi Aggarwal, associate of institutional relations at EMBARQ India, which works towards sustainable mobility systems.
EMBARQ India’s Mumbai wing is working on a project, with the BMC and the MIDC, to design a comfortable walking environment in Marol and to improve walking access to Chakala metro station.
The problem, experts say, is that there is no policy on pavements. Fort Management Plan, a project conducted by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) last year, highlighted the need to demarcate footpaths into zones for utilities, building facades, signages, hawkers and trees.
“It is imperative to frame a set of standardised rules for footpaths consistent to Mumbai’s needs and infrastructure,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI.
A BMC official said: “When roads are built or repaired, footpaths are taken care of by the contractor or ward officials.”