Necessary Civic Services for Pedestrians sign now

Charter of Citizens Demands

To
A) Mayors & Municipal Commissioners of Municipal Corporations of Mumbai Metropolitan Region
B) Chairman & Managing Director of MMRDA
C) Chief Minister & Chief Secretary
D) Home Minister & Principal Secretary
E) Minister for Urban Development & Principal Secretary
F) Chief Justice of Bombay High Court


I. Inequities and irrationalities in public space usage that need to be remedied:

a) Private vehicles carry about 7\% of commuters, but occupy over 45\% of road space. On-road parking of private cars, rickshaws and taxis occupies about 30\% of the available road space during the daytime, and reduces the traffic-carrying capacity of the roads where they are parked by over 45\% during normal hours, and over 60\% during rush-hours.

b) Taxis and auto-rickshaws carry about 5\% of commuters, but occupy over 25\% of road space.

c) Buses and suburban trains carry 88\% of commuters. Buses, which carry about 45\% of passengers, use 10\% of road space.

d) More than 85\% of commuters daily walk over two kilometers to bus stops, suburban trains, residences, offices and markets. However, less than 1\% of the road space is demarcated and reserved for them to walk in the form of exclusive footpaths. The majority of them are forced to share road space with motor vehicles. This is unacceptable in civilized metropolises the world over.

e) Despite their tiny proportion, many thousand crore rupees are spent on flyovers and sea-links for private motorists. Meanwhile, despite their huge numbers and great need, infrastructure for pedestrians is actually shrinking, and only a few crore rupees are spent on creating footpaths for the safety of pedestrians. Strangely, it seems as though pedestrians are not being accounted for in budgeting of public space and infrastructure funds!

f) Hawkers and illegal shop extensions occupy over 10\% of road space especially at evening rush hours. They cause vehicular congestion on all station-roads and approach-roads to trunk roads, and reduce the roads traffic-carrying capacity by over 60\%. In other words, they increase the journey-time of vehicles to more than double during rush hours, prolong the length of the citys rush hours by over two hours in the evening, and increase the journey time of tired pedestrians by over 20\%. (It is true that hawkers render a commercial service to society by making many goods cheaply available, but they impose hidden costs on society that are unaffordable. Firstly, they occupy disproportionately large amount of public space without regard to public convenience and safety. Secondly, they avoid paying legitimate rentals for space usage and legitimate tax dues to civic bodies. Thirdly, they pervert the entire municipal and police administration by creating a network of haftas. They maintain a parallel economy and administration within the city, and this is intolerable to law-abiding citizens.)

g) About 1\% of public space at any given point of time seems to be under repairs, flyover construction, widening, concreting etc. However, raw materials, machinery and debris from such activity are loosely regulated, and take up more than 3\% of the space, reducing traffic efficiencies. Furthermore, hazards like ditches and open manholes persist long after the completion of that work, as closure of work is not done in a focused manner.

h) Orderly traffic management is completely lacking throughout the MMR region. Inadequate measures to prevent jaywalking even where proper facilities such as zebra-crossings and pedestrian subways are available reduces traffic flow at rush hours, and endangers both pedestrians and motorists.




II. Guiding principles for civic authorities:

a) Let roads be roads -- not walking areas and bazaars.
Let bazaars be bazaars -- not thoroughfare for vehicles.
Let footpaths be footpaths -- not bazaars, dumping grounds or gutters.


b) Concentrate efforts on re-organizing public spaces to make maximum space available for walking. Wasteful space consumption by hawkers and vehicle parking on roads must be severely curbed. Every neighbourhood must have small market areas and parking areas (public or private initiatives) available for hawking and vehicle parking on rental basis. Speedily enforce the Supreme Court guidelines in this regard, and create hawker-friendly plazas. However, roads and footpaths cannot be deemed as available spaces for hawking or parking!


c) There should be zero tolerance for open manholes and ditches, displaced traffic dividers, potholed footpaths, heaps of stony debris that occupy precious public space and are a hazard for pedestrians in particular.


III. SHORT-TERM (Intermediate & Immediate) MEASURES DEMANDED WITHIN 3 MONTHS:

1) Stop giving away public spaces for free. The cost of on-road parking must take into account the high cost of building the roads and the cost of public lands, which is at least as much as that of land for commercial premises. Every on-road space available for parking must be, by default, a Pay-and-Park. No free parking should be available on public roads. Parking rates must be directly linked to market prices of land in the respective areas.

2) Wherever you are unable to provide pedestrians walking space on clear footpaths, demarcate a 6-foot pedestrian lane on either side of the traffic divider, and penalize all vehicles that drive in this lane at all hours of day or night. A low partition or road divider will be useful to ensure the safety of citizens. (This measure must be carried out pending creation of proper infrastructure such as clear, protected footpaths.)

3) All stony debris to be removed immediately from roads and pavements as part of the Clean Mumbai project. Also, all open manholes and pits must be covered immediately. Contactors who leave either raw materials or debris must be penalized as per MCGM Policy Guideline for Granting of permission to Utilitity and Municipal Agencies for Excavation and Reinstatement thereafter, no. MDB/4259 dated 14 March, 2005. Payment must not be released to contractors without ensuring that ALL of the debris and raw materials have been removed. There must be strict enforcement of MCGMs rules in this regard with zero tolerance for error. At each ongoing project, signboards must be prominently displayed with name of contractor, starting and completion date of road project, and name and phone number of ward officer to whom citizens can complain.

4) All open manholes and other hazards must be clearly marked and cordoned off while work is in progress and closed / removed within 12 hours of completion of the work. If open manholes etc. persist, then contractors are to be fined as per MCGM Policy Guideline no. MDB/4259. All those responsible for leaving such public hazards unattended must also be chargesheeted and dismissed, because such lapses are life-threatening. (Currently, we have thousands of such public hazards scattered all over the city.)

5) Survey the numbers of daily commuters on every major road pedestrians, private motorists and users of public transport. The results of this survey must be the determinant for allocating public spaces in fair proportions for pedestrians etc.


IV. LONG-TERM MEASURES DEMANDED WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS:

1) Roadside and footpath hawkers to be relocated to bazaar zones, and all encroachments, including shops and establishments encroachments to be removed.

2) Pavement width on both sides of the road to be at least 6 feet on all roads, and 12 feet on high-pedestrian-density roads especially the ones leading to suburban railway stations, regardless of the width of such roads.

3) If any other road is less than 25 feet wide, then it may have a single wide footpath of 12 ft width unobstructed by lamp-posts and trees.

4) If a road is more than 60 feet wide, provide 10-ft wide footpaths on both sides and also exclusive bus lanes. The road width allowable to private vehicles must not exceed one-third of the road, except on highways.

5) Proposed skywalks must have separate provisions for hawkers -- separate bazaar platforms that are not part of the main pedestrian area. This is necessary for preventing the creeping process of encroachment.

6) Footpaths, roads and skywalks must be suitable for blind and physically handicapped persons and senior citizens. Unexpected gradients, vehicle ramps, protruding manhole covers etc must be systematically identified and eliminated. Footpaths and roads must be faultlessly marked and maintained. There is no room for roadside debris and stray pieces of rubble anywhere.

7) Roadwork on any given road should not be considered complete unless it has vacant and continuous footpaths for walking. A road is not complete unless all its users have been served and, barring highways, pedestrians form the vast majority of users on most roads of the city.



Proposed on 8th May 2008

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Janelle CooperBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
Civic Authorities of Mumbai Metropolitan Region

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