Mumbai citizens take the Twitter route to throw light on neglected footpaths
Tired of broken and uneven footpaths, a group of citizens has initiated a campaign to create awareness about pedestrian rights among residents and government authorities. Love Your Parks (LYP), a city-based group, last month initiated the ‘Where’s My Footpath Wednesday’ challenge. Through the campaign, the group is asking citizens to take a 15-minute or 1-km walk in their neighbourhoods; photograph missing, neglected or misused footpaths; and upload them on Twitter every Wednesday.
“We are also asking citizens to dare their local MLA to take these footpaths. Through this campaign, we want to collect as much data as possible and approach authorities to look into the situation. Walking in the city is a pain, especially if you have small children or elderly parents,” said Anca Abraham, co-founder, LYP Mumbai.
According to Priyanka Nandi, the other co-founder, the group has already received photos of 50 such locations in the city. This includes areas in Dadar, Bandra, Juhu, Kalina, Churchgate and Fort. “At Horniman Circle, we found broken paver blocks, with cars parked around the garden. At Joggers’ Park, there are no sidewalks, leading car owners to park their vehicles in every nook available on the street,” said Nandi.
This is not the first initiative to make the city more walkable. In June 2019, the Mumbai Mobility Forum, a city-based group of 40 members, formed a pedestrian safety cell to take up these issues with authorities such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), traffic police and transport department.
The traffic police have identified lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure as the reason for the large number of fatalities in road accidents. A study done by the traffic police and the World Resources Institute (WRI), along with Bloomberg Philanthropies, shows that of the 490 fatalities on Mumbai roads in 2017, most involved pedestrians (255), followed by two-wheeler riders.