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Pedestrians peril as Pune’s walkability quotient questioned

Residents of Mohammadwadi, Kothrud, Hadapsar and Wadgaon Sheri have complained of not having a proper footpath in the area

pune Updated: Apr 16, 2019 15:16 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Pedestrians,walkability quotient
Footpath near Karve road in Kothrud(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

In a city where walking is a challenge, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is focusing on a walkability quotient as the key issue to transform footpaths in the city. However, illegal encroachments are still proving to be a major hurdle.

Annirudha Pawaskar, head, PMC road department said, “Since February 2018, the PMC road department has completed 574 km of footpath work. By the end of 2019, we will add five per cent in the length of the footpaths in the city.”

An encroachment-free footpath on Smart city road, Aundh. ( Milind Saurkar/HT Photo )

Pawaskar further added, “The PMC is working towards uplifting the footpaths in the city. Most footpaths in the city have been revamped under the Pune urban street design. Since 2000, the road work of the 23 merged villages in PMC has been continuing at a fast pace. We are now looking to revamp the 11 newly merged villages.”

Residents of Kalyaninagar, Aundh, Baner, Camp, NIBM, Wanowrie and Karvenagar are pleased with the noticeable changes in the footpaths. However, illegal encroachments are creating a problem .

“The footpaths in the by-lanes of Kalyaninagar have no encroachment, however,the footpath opposite Mariplex has been encroached by vegetable vendors, food stalls and small shacks. Not just that, people also park their two-wheelers on the footpath, despite A pay and park facility,” said Asha Sinha, a resident of Kalyaninagar.

Residents of NIBM and Wanowrie have urged the PMC to take action against illegal encroachments.“It is good to see a well-maintained footpath, however, they should be seamless and the level should be maintained so that it is easier for senior citizens and wheel-chaired bound citizens.” said Maithili Manakwad, a resident of NIBM.

Residents of Mohammadwadi, Kothrud, Hadapsar and Wadgaon Sheri have complained of not having a proper footpath in the area. Angeline Peter, a resident of Wadgaon Sheri says, “I have been living in Wadgaon Sheri for a long time, however, there has never been a proper footpath in the area. We have complained and have written a letter to the corporator, but, nothing has changed. The main road is narrow and there is no space to walk.”

Prashant Inamdar, convenor Pedestrian First , a city-based NGO said, “The the idea of having footpaths for pedestrian has been around for the past 11 years where every municipal commissioner has been approached, some even began the project but would be held up. Between 2007 – 2009, pedestrians became a focal point and PMC started focusing on planning. With the Common Wealth Youth Games funding, a budget for wider roads along with footpaths were designed and in 2008, a non-motorised cell was formed thus footpaths came into focus.”

Inamdar added that it is a good move by the PMC who are taking footpaths into consideration while designing roads. However, the civic body should come up with a permanent solution for illegal encroachments.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 15:15 IST