Police statistics show that every year, more than 100 pedestrians are killed in the city and more than 250 are left badly injured.

There is hardly a day when vehicle users fail to notice pedestrians jump across medians and stand motionless in front of speeding vehicles. Some pedestrians sneak through gaps between vehicles. Vehicle users feel that pedestrians add to the traffic woes, while pedestrians say they were pushed to this situation because of lack of pedestrian-friendly facilities on city roads.

Police statistics show that every year, more than 100 pedestrians are killed in the city and more than 250 are left badly injured. According to the city police, a majority of them are those crossing the road. It is high time better infrastructure, such as subways, foot over bridges and zebra crossings, was made available for pedestrians.

From school students to the working class, thousands of commuters making use of the public transport system are forced to cross the city roads at various places, especially on Avanashi Road, Sathyamangalam Road, Tiruchi Road and Mettupalayam Road. The inconvenience and threat to safety of pedestrians are high during the peak hours.

“One will be shocked to see the crossings end abruptly in the median. We should walk a few feet around the median to reach the other half of the crossing,” says V. Rathinam (57) of Jeeva Nagar. Such obstructions pose a threat to those on foot – who manage their way between vehicles at the signal.

S. Mohammed Rafi, district secretary of the Aam Aadmi Party, says that but for the foot overbridge near the Gandhipuram Bus Stand (even that is removed now in view of the ongoing flyover work), there is hardly any other facility for pedestrians to cross the roads in the city. At some junctions, there are only traces of pedestrian crossings marking.

He suggested that subways should be constructed at important junctions to make it convenient for pedestrians to cross roads at ease and for motorists to use the roads. It is time subways were thought of especially with escalators and elevators for the benefit of the differently abled and senior citizens. Mr. Rafi says that pedestrian crossings (road marks in rubber paints) should be painted periodically. “Signboards indicating zebra crossings and signals for pedestrians are also required at all the junctions,” he adds.

Senior traffic police personnel said that the police were in the process of identifying locations to install signals for pedestrians and caution signboards for motorists. An official said that signals for pedestrians were a component of the infrastructure to be brought in as part of a tender to be floated by them through the Coimbatore Corporation for maintaining traffic signals in the city.

Two subways would be constructed for pedestrians as part of the flyover that was under construction from Dr. Nanjappa Road to GP Junction.

The official said that the first would be at the GP signal and that the other could be at the Cross Cut Road Junction or the Central Bus Stand. A proposal was given to the Coimbatore Corporation about a year ago to establish a subway near the railway junction, the police official added.

Source : The Hindu , 14th Nov 2014