‘We want pedestrian-friendly roads,’ say Bengaluru citizens at protest march

The protestors demanded pedestrian signals across the city, and asked for roads to become friendlier for differently-abled people.
 ‘We want pedestrian-friendly roads,’ say Bengaluru citizens at protest march
‘We want pedestrian-friendly roads,’ say Bengaluru citizens at protest march
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Two years ago, Ananthamurthy was hit by a vehicle, injuring his shoulder, in central Bengaluru. He was crossing a busy road and a speeding vehicle failed to see him in the middle of the road.

Today, Ananthamurthy is at the Citizens for Bengaluru #WeWantWalkSignal protest, demanding pedestrian signals be put up across the city.

“I have to walk near areas like Richmond Road, which does not have a proper footpath, let alone a pedestrian signal. This has to change and this is why I am here today,” said Ananthamurthy.

Volunteers from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), Sandhya Kirana, the Association for People with Disabilities, students from Mount Carmel and St Joseph, and children from Jwalamukhi and APSA gathered at Richmond Circle to demand pedestrian signals and to make the city roads more friendly to differently-abled people.

The demand for this was initially raised in the Beku Beda Santhe held in September last year, and it turned out to be one of the most popular demands. CfB organised this protest as a reminder to authorities.

"We are publicising certain demands so that politicians can take note of what the people really want,” Srinivas Alavilli, of the CfB, told Times of India.

Tara Krishnaswamy, of CfB, told TNM that citizens were out protesting in a bid to make political manifestos more citizen friendly. "With elections coming up, we have prepared a citizen manifesto that covers 13 sectors – including public transport and health, among others. We want the narrative of the political manifestos to be in line with citizen manifestos," she added.

She also dismissed the idea of building a skywalk at MG Road. "Inner city roads don't need skywalks anywhere. But we do need walking signals that rotate with the signals at circles and give people the chance to cross the road in a round-robin format,” she said.

She added that the Bengaluru Police has agreed to set up 60 pelican signals, but there should be more in the city.

Meanwhile, Radha, from the Association for People with Disabilities, said that the city should become more friendly to differently-abled people. “Wheelchair users like me don’t come out all that often because we have to depend on others to cross roads. We want a self-operated system that is disability friendly, so we can start coming out freely in Bengaluru,” said Radha.

CfB has planned more protests in the future – picking up different topics in the manifesto – over the next five months in the run-up to the assembly elections.

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