Monday, March 14, 2005

Wither Pedestrians?

Pedestrians are in the bottom of the food chain when it comes to using public roads in Chennai. With little or no sidewalk on most of the city roads, pedestrians have to fight for space in the over crowded roads, which has to be shared with anything that moves & hawkers 'moving' their ware.

It is perhaps safer, relatively speaking to be on a vehicle than be a pedestrian on Chennai roads. It has become a highly dangerous to venture out walking any city roads in Chennai.

Sidewalks have all but vanished from most of the roads. Where the sidewalks do exist, they are being used by everyone and anyone but pedestrians as the sidewalks are encroached by hawkers and squatters. In other places, sidewalks have become public lavatories or public parking and are not usable. So the poor pedestrian is forced to compete for space in the road along with cars, trucks and motor-cycles, none whom really ‘care’ for the pedestrians.

If walking on the Chennai roads is dangerous, crossing them is suicidal. Everyone is in a ‘hurry’ and none of the vehicles give way for the poor pedestrians. It is a pity that small kids and the old people alike will have to ‘sprint’ across the road risking their life.

I am not sure if anything will be done the city administrators to reclaim the sidewalks. But then again city leaders have much more pressing issues than to redress the plight of poor pedestrians.