After workshop on walkability, MCG promises to clear footpaths near Malibu Town
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has said that it will, over the course of the next week, ensure safe pedestrian mobility in a one-kilometre radius from Mt. Olympus School near Malibu Town, through overhauling of footpaths, fixing of potholes, and closing of manholes. This comes in response to a workshop on Sunday where students and representatives of the residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) presented an assessment of walking infrastructure in the area to a team of MCG officials, demanding better ‘walkability’.
Titled ‘Walkshop’, and jointly organised by the MCG, the World Resources Institute and the Gurugram-based Raahgiri Foundation, the workshop aimed at promoting better walking infrastructure in a city where it is starkly lacking, organisers said.
According to a recent study by Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Gurugram has an average walkability index of just 0.45 out of 5, “reflecting an overall poor condition” of relevant infrastructure. This is significant in light of another data, revealed by the same study, which shows that 48% of all daily trips undertaken by Gurugram’s residents are on foot.
“If we want walkability, we first need to demand it,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, workshop convener. “Only about 7% of people in the city use cars, but most of the focus is on developing infrastructure for motorable vehicles,” she said. Bhatt also explained that changing the status quo would first require citizens to actively seek better walkability, and to start walking themselves.
“The intent of the workshop is to spread awareness among various communities about inclusive street design and identifying the major issues by conducting small walks with school children, RWAs, NGOs and communities, which would help stakeholders realize the importance of walkable, safer streets,” Bhatt added.
On Sunday, after a brief discussion on pedestrian mobility, students from Mount Olympus School, Ansal University and American Montessori Public School, along with representatives from about 40 RWAs, surveyed an area near Malibu Town and presented their assessment to Raman Sharma, chief engineer, MCG.
“Most of the issues we found were of unpaved footpaths, open manholes, illegal parking, and so on. While the roads lie under the jurisdiction of Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, we will fix the potholes, remove any garbage and also initiate talks with the GMDA to rectify the situation,” Sharma said.
The work also included a primer on the various components of the GMDA’s comprehensive mobility plan (CMP), which is awaiting notification, including the plan’s proposal for pedestrian infrastructure. The plan allocates less than 1% of its total budget for development of footpaths, cycling tracks and so on, which citizens and experts have said is at odds with one of the underlying objectives of the CMP, which is to “bring about a more equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles, as its focus”.