Dwarka: On April 16, 2022, an officer from the Ministry of Defence died in a hit and run case in the sub-city. He was hit by a car while walking in the absence of a footpath. The incident has raised several questions about pedestrian safety in the sub-city. A discussion has been started in several RWA forums and residents' Whatsapp groups regarding how the city’s pedestrian spaces are either not maintained or are encroached, compelling pedestrians to walk on the main road putting their lives at risk.
CitySpidey is starting a series on pedestrian safety and rights in Dwarka. The first story is on the need for foot over bridges and subways in the city infrastructure. We will highlight different aspects in subsequent stories.
Walking on the roads in one of 'the most planned sub-cities of DDA' Dwarka has become risky for pedestrians. Over the years, with an increase in population, the number of vehicles and commuters has increased considerably. However, one could say that city's road infrastructure still lacks an impetus for pedestrians' safety.
People can be seen crossing the roads from one market to another amidst traffic. There is no infrastructure for them which could provide smooth and safe access from one place to other without crossing the road. Residents of the area are saying that the sub-city should have facilities such as underground subways or foot overbridges at least in those places which see heavy traffic.
Pedestrians face problems crossing the road near places on master plan roads and also near popular markets or busy chowks. In many places, gaps have been made in the grills on the dividers to avoid a long turn from the signals. People highlight that it is not logical to cross the road by taking half a kilometre or a kilometre turn from either side.
One such place is Sector 6 and 10 market area. Subhash Goel, a resident of Sector 10 says, “If one wants to go from Sector 6 market to Sector 10 market he/she has to cross the road from the middle of traffic, or take a turn of almost a kilometre to access. There are no facilities for pedestrians. This is a failure of planning."
Vishal Gupta a resident of Lovely Home Apartments, Sector 5 says, “There are four markets at Ashirvad Chowk area and accessing them is difficult for a pedestrian because there are vehicles on the roads and the signals are far from the entrance of the markets. If I have to go from Sector 12 to Sector 4 market, I must have to cover at least 300 metres which are not practical. There is a gap in the grill made by the people for convenience and residents often cross from the middle of the road to reach the market. Here, the authorities should make a subway for the ease and safety of pedestrians.”
Pedestrian issues can be witnessed near Sector 6/10 market; around Ashirvad Chowk area having markets of Sector 4,5,11 and 12; at the signal of Sector 1; at Madhu Vihar among others. The situation is even worse for the people who want to cross the road from Sector 3 towards Dwarka Mor. There is no place to cross the road at this stretch of about more than a kilometre. As a result, some people take a risk and jump the divider’s grill too.
Apart from this, pedestrian rights are being violated by vehicles by encroaching zebra crossings and flouting pedestrian lights at major points used to cross the roads.
Residents are now raising requests for a better infrastructure for pedestrian safety in the city through social media and residents' forums. They are demanding the authorities make major points along the city pedestrian-friendly and provide direct accessibility. For this, they demand the construction of foot overbridges and subways.
According to sources in the sub-city, a joint survey was done earlier in 2010 by DDA and UTTIPEC aimed at improving pedestrian safety in Dwarka. A team of Dwarka Forum was also present in this survey. However, no initiatives have been taken after that. Rejimon CK, a member of Dwarka Forum who was a part of the 2010 survey, has been following up on the subject by writing to DDA.
He says, “It was the survey of UTTIPEC, DDA, MCD and the residents for the whole sub-city to study locations for pedestrian-friendly measures. There was a talk of having foot over bridges in the sub-city at that time. But since, there has been no development. Authorities should over this issue seriously because Dwarka is a Master Plan city and it must at least have the facility of foot over bridges."
A press release of DDA says that 4 Foot over Bridges with a total cost of Rs 12 crore were scheduled to be completed in August 2020. It was announced by the urban minister Hardeep Singh Puri in 2019. But till now, no such foot over the bridge has been completed. As announced, those Foot Over Bridges will provide safe crossing facilities to more than 16,200 pedestrians per day. It will reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic speed. It will provide pedestrian connectivity between neighbourhood areas in Sector 1 with sector 7, MadhuVihar with Sector 4 &5 NSIT with SulahkulMandir and District Court with General Hospital.