Monday, July 15, 2024

Is Guwahati safe for pedestrians?

Rinku Sharma

Everyone is a pedestrian, whether they are making a quick walk from their cars to a neighbouring store or a longer commute. However, Guwahati’s crowded walkways and roadways are clogged with moving vehicles, making it difficult for pedestrians to move around. Sometimes pedestrians have to weave and dart amid the traffic due to the inaccessibility of proper footpaths.

The majority of people in Guwahati commute on foot; however, they encounter several problems walking on the road. Inaccessible crosswalks, zebra crossings, the encroachment of footpaths, and on-street parking restrict pedestrians’ freedom of movement. Another significant concern with pedestrian road safety is unplanned and poorly maintained pedestrian infrastructure.

On the few occasions when footpaths do exist in Guwahati, they are usually too high and too narrow for those using the roadways. The footpaths are frequently uneven, crooked, and crowded with obstacles for users. The majority of city walkways are constructed above drains, which increases the risk that they will break and jeopardise the lives of walkers.

The motorcycles that frequently have free rein on footpaths also make them dangerous or off-limits to city dwellers. Two-wheeler drivers break traffic laws by driving on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians’ lives. Additionally, the majority of footpaths lack barriers, which makes it possible for bikers to pass through or park their two-wheelers there, greatly inconveniencing pedestrians. One will frequently notice bikers using the pathways in the Basistha Chariali and Beltola Tiniali areas in order to avoid the heavy traffic on the road. On top of that, in Guwahati, street vendors frequently use or occupy the walkways, blocking the way of people walking on the roads as they set up various types of carts to sell goods like tobacco, food, and clothing.

There are not many footbridges in Guwahati, and even where there are few, their condition is degrading. There are many dangerous footbridges with broken railings and steps. Residents must navigate the route by crossing busy roadways on foot because the footbridges are not maintained. Vehicles can also be seen abandoned in locations that restrict the movement of road users, such as on footpaths or at pedestrian crossings. In the city, parking on walkways is a big problem in the Lalganesh, Survey, Chandmari, and Maligaon areas.

The improper use of traffic signal lights makes it difficult for people to cross roads safely. Traffic signal lights may give confused indications as a result of a technological issue, which causes significant disruption for pedestrians crossing the roads in Guwahati. Another factor that contributes to the difficulties faced by pedestrians on city roads is careless driving. Some vehicles can be seen failing to stop for pedestrians at the zebra crossing, which is a huge inconvenience for pedestrians. 

Another big safety risk for pedestrians is vehicle speed. Drivers of vehicles fail to take the necessary safety precautions while driving on the roadway. Some never even blow the horn to warn pedestrians. Many of the drivers do not even pause at crossroads to allow pedestrians to cross the street.

Another problem that pedestrians frequently encounter while walking in the streets in Guwahati is finding trash on the sidewalk and in pedestrian areas. Paltan Bazar and Fancy Bazar are some of the neighbourhoods where one can frequently find trash lying on the pathways. Pedestrians can even be seen hopping over the trash to move.

The bottom line

Pedestrians form a large chunk of the Guwahati population, but they encounter numerous difficulties when using the city’s roads to move from one place to another. The state government has a responsibility to adequately manage pedestrian issues and guarantee the fundamental safety requirements of walkers on the roads in Guwahati.

Related articles

error: Content is protected !!