How urban planner’s Spain trip gave Mumbai 1st traffic signal with female figuresUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 01:56 IST
It was in 2019, on her trip to Madrid in Spain, that Vijayshree Pednekar, a 34-year-old Mumbai-based urban planner and architect, saw women figures or female silhouettes on traffic signals. “I was astonished. I thought it might be a small gesture, but a bold statement,” said Pednekar.
Already associated with various projects being implemented by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Pednekar worked on this one too, and months later, Mumbai became the first city in the country to adopt these figures at a signal in Dadar.
Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s tourism minister, took to Twitter to announce the change.
He said, “@mybmcwardGN is ensuring gender equality with a simple idea – the signals now have women too.” On Friday, United Nations Women also acknowledged the important step.
Pednekar, co-founder of The Urban Project and a resident of Prabhadevi, said that Thackeray and the G/N ward office (includes Dadar) instinctively took to the idea. “In a way, the sign also represents women ‘crossing the limits’ and entering the public space. Women are no more confined to their houses,” said Pednekar.
In the past, The Urban Project was associated with BMC’s project to introducing women-friendly sanitation facilities at the Gateway of India. It has also worked with the Right To Pee campaign, to prepare guidelines for women-friendly sanitation spaces.
“Cities need both macro and micro initiatives that ensure safer access to sanitation and public spaces, not only for women but also transgenders and the differently-abled,” she said.
The traffic signal initiative is part of the ‘Cultural Spine’ project by the BMC, which aims to give a face-lift to the entire stretch from Mahim to Prabhadevi.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner from G/North ward, said, “We have been involving young urban planners and architects, and have been taking their suggestions to improve public spaces in the ward.”