A CITY-BASED NGO working in the field of road safety on Tuesday claimed 87 per cent of those interviewed feel crossing roads is dangerous and 89 per cent had to leave footpaths unexpectedly because of obstructions caused by parked vehicles, vendors or poor condition of the footpaths.
The NGO, Arrive Safe, interviewed 520 pedestrians — 376 men and 144 women — at six locations in the last two months for the Pedestrian Perception Survey. The locations comprised Aroma Light Point-22, ISBT 43 Vikas Marg, PGI, Madhya Marg, Sectors 34 and 35 market/commercial/residential areas and Sector 45/46 Sukhna Path.
The survey notes, “Eighty-nine per cent of the respondents needed to leave footpaths unexpectedly because of obstructions caused by parked vehicles, vendors or poor condition of the footpaths. Seventy-eight per cent of the females felt unsafe to walk in the dark. On the cleanliness index, only 13 per cent considered footpaths good, 26 per cent found them fair and 61 per cent poor. A whopping 87 per cent feel crossing the roads is dangerous and they have to hurry because vehicle drivers and two-wheeler riders hardly care for them.”
Significantly, 96 people were killed in road accidents in the city in 2019. Out of them, 27 were pedestrians.
The 520 interviewed pedestrians included working class people, students, housewives, laymen and people who usually travel in motor vehicles but occasionally walk on the roads. The NGO will hand over the findings to the UT Administration and UT traffic police shortly.
Harman Sidhu, president of Arrive Safe, said “Our NUTP (National Urban Transport Policy), formulated in April 2006 recommends equitable allocation of space for people, not vehicles. The Goal 11 of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) set by United Nations also talks of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The pedestrians have to fend for themselves while using footpaths or when crossing roads. This fear further increases vehicular dependability even for travelling short distances, prompting expansion of roads and considering flyovers, which is not a citizenry-friendly approach. The first right to cross the road is of pedestrians.”
DSP (traffic) Kewal Krishan said, “Pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders are the most vulnerable in road accidents in Chandigarh. A lot of steps were taken to improve the condition in the past years. These included installation of special lights for pedestrians outside GMSH-16, Shanti Kunj in Sector 16 and Sukhna Lake. More steps are being taken.”