Doubts over utility of foot over bridge

August 12, 2013

Proshun Chakraborty, TNN


NAGPUR: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has started constructing a foot over bridge (FOB) at Law College Square. However, the question being asked is: Will the FOB be used by pedestrians?Citizens’ forums and some government officials say there is no need for a foot overbridge at that spot. The location was chosen more for the advantage of advertisers than pedestrians, they added.

“For whom the foot overbridge is being built,” asked Dinesh Naidu, secretary of Parivartan – The Citizens’ Forum. “There is no justification for constructing a bridge at the present site except that it is a prime location for hoardings,” he said in a memorandum submitted to municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane and commissioner of police K K Pathak, urging them to stop its construction.

These FOBs are result of arbitrary planning and lack of social engineering by NMC. Many norms have been flouted by NMC in conceptualizing, designing and awarding the work of these FOBs, citizen’s forums alleged.

“Such FOBs are not only a hotbed of criminal activities but have also been social nuisance wherever they have been constructed,” the NGO stated in the memorandum. The NGO is also planning to move high court against the construction of FOBs.

The FOB at Law College is among the 24 being built by an outdoor advertisement agency on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for NMC in lieu of advertisement rights.

Although there is a flat scheme on one side of the road, and two colleges, the square sees hardly any pedestrian movement and hence the bridge is unnecessary, Naidu explained. To prove their claim, the NGO has pointed out lack of use of FOBs in Mumbai.

Traffic activist Vinay Kunte said, “The foot over bridge is being built on the wrong spot for pedestrians,” he says, pointing out that the current location means that college students would have to walk down a few hundred meters, climb up and over, and then walk back. “It’s unlikely they’ll use it at all.”

Many feel that besides being at a wrong spot, such a bridge would be ineffective. “In general, foot over bridges are not much used. We find that people are more likely to use subway rather than a bridge, because psychologically they are more willing to go downstairs,” said an expert.

According to NMC’s executive engineer (Project) R M Hotwani, the civic body is creating the facility for pedestrians free of cost. Referring to Indian Road Congress norms, Hotwani claimed that it is mandatory for the civic body to create facilities (like FOB or subways) for pedestrians. Construction of subways is very costly and NMC is not in a position to invest money on this. So FOB was chosen, he said. He claimed that there was a demand for a FOB at Law College Square from the educational institutions situated there. “People needed some crossover at the junction,” he said. According to him, a study conducted by the PWD had said crossovers were needed at 24 places.

Some of the residents had also demanded that a signal be provided at that junction, he said. However, Law College Square foot overbridge is not the only one which has met opposition from citizens.

Points To Ponder

* To use FOB one will have to climb 30/35 steps which is very difficult for old persons

* While taking a subway people first go down 18/20 steps which is not tiring. While using a FOB they will have to climb 30/35 steps

* Young people are generally in a hurry do not like to waste their time using a FOB

* FOB is suitable only where there is heavy pedestrian traffic, mostly consisting of middle aged people


Intro: Can FOBs help solve problems for pedestrians at some of the busiest junctions of the city?

RBI Square: FOB is not needed at all as there is hardly any traffic. It is quite convenient for the pedestrians to walk

Ajni Railway Station: Not needed because people rarely take a walk from there and choose other ways to reach the places near station

LIC Square: Not needed because a zebra crossing can solve the problem of pedestrians

Mohini Complex: Resolving encroachment issue will automatically solve pedestrian problems

Chitnis Park Square: Encroachment and hawker stalls needed to be removed

Law College Square: Mostly students form the crowd and after their entry inside the college premises the mob is cleared

Shankar Nagar Square: Footpath and zebra crossing help pedestrians

Mor Bhavan: A zebra crossing can do the needful for pedestrians

Hotel Naivedyam: Clearing the mess on the footpath and a proper zebra crossing can make things easy

SFS School (Gaddigodam): A zebra crossing can help as students and their means of transport form a mob only in the noon and morning. Otherwise, the traffic situation is under control

Indora Square: Commercial complex visitors form the main crowd. A zebra crossing will help the pedestrians to walk the path

Anand Bhandar (Katol Road): Encroachment issues need some pondering which will help

Akashwani Chowk: The area is mostly crowded with two wheelers and four wheelers and there are a few pedestrians walking there. Hence there is no need of FOB

Chhatrapati Square Bus Stand: There is no need for FOB as a simple zebra crossing is enough for the pedestrians to walk

MIDAS (Janta Square): FOB construction at this square is a waste as the pedestrians prefer crossing the road using dividers

Sai Mandir: It will be a big task to remove beggars from the front side of the temple. Also, there is already a flyover on that road. Constructing FOB will create mess over there

Khamla (Sindhi Colony): There are hardly any pedestrians on Khamla Road. If required, a zebra crossing will do

Medical Square: The road near Medical Square is enough for the people to walk. Also, the relatives who come to visit patients, hardly use the road. FOB construction would be a waste

Gandhi Putla: As most of the time the road is covered with vehicles there are hardly any people who walk on this road

Agrasen Square: Footpath and dividers do the needful here. FOB is not required

City Bus Stand: Already the crowd of the buses creates havoc here and FOB will add to this.

Mayo Hospital: Relatives of patients come visiting, but they use the approach road of Mominpura. It does not affects vehicular traffic on Central Avenue.

Reshimbagh Square: This square does not have heavy pedestrian movement and hence there is no need for a FOB

Rajiv Gandhi Square: Though it a big square on Bhandara Road, the number of pedestrians is less. Hence, no need for FOB



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