Wide roads and footpaths with ramps are the hallmarks of a well-planned Vizag city. However, in our city, the purpose seems to be interchangeable. Thus the sight of people walking on the roads, instead of the footpath, is as common as bikers using the footpath as a driveway. In order to defy the traffic, many people on two-wheelers, find it smarter to cut the crowd, by simply using the ramps meant for the walkers and physically challenged to get on to the footpath instead. They whiz past, happily using the ramp at the other end to access the road again. Manoeuvring around the people walking on the footpath, motorists seldom realise the inconvenience they cause to the pedestrians. Little do they realise that they are clogging the walkway, just to save a few minutes. And footpath driving just isn’t the problem. Numerous vendors too set up shop on the space meant for pedestrians. This limits the space for the pedestrians further. And finally, all these issues, lead to the well-laid tiles on the footpath to get eroded quickly.
This leads us to ask whether we as a city deserve to ask for better infrastructure when we lack the responsible attitude towards using it? Does the problem lie in better road design or management instead? Or is it time to implement the system of fines, like the west, to instil fear in people and prevent them from using the walkaways for a ride.
If walkers being struck down by vehicles on roads is a worrisome issue, footpath driving has made things worse. This should be treated as a serious offence and those guilty of putting the walker’s safety at stake should be penalised heavily. Such instances must be reported instantly and the concerned authorities must adopt stringent measures to safeguard the footpaths.
Motorcyclists riding on the footpaths is fast becoming a nuisance in the city. My husband and I have been put to discomfort many times while taking a stroll on the footpaths at the Beach Road. Despite reporting this issue to the authorities on multiple occasions, no palpable action has been taken yet.
Footpaths must be restricted to the sole purpose they’re meant for providing a path for people to walk on. Bike riders should not venture onto these paths and put the pedestrians at risk. This has become a serious issue in the city, especially near the Yoga Centre on the Beach Road in Vizag. Those breaking the law must be charged with heavy fines.