Paths of Thiruvananthapuram full of ‘thorns’ – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Narrowed sidewalks, congested sidewalks, illegal parking and clogged sewers have frustrated pedestrians in Thiruvananthapuram. And the upcoming monsoon season is likely to make the situation worse. Nearly every stretch of the capital has been overrun with hawkers and vendors, forcing pedestrians to walk on the carriageway. The ongoing smart road construction works undertaken by Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (SCTL), which is progressing at a snail’s pace, would also add to the public woes.

As usual, officials – from the municipality as well as from the district administration – turned a blind eye to the problems of the common man. For example, the number of street vendors has multiplied following the decline of the pandemic. East Fort, Medical College, Statue Junction, Chalai, Kesavadasapuram and Thycaud are some of the high encroachment areas.

Only 10% of roads have sidewalk widths greater than 1.2m on both sides town have footpaths. Of a total of 534 km of roads selected for the study, only 10% of the roads had sidewalks 1.2 m wide on both sides.

Pedestrian movements were found to be high (3,538 at peak times) at the East Fort arm of Overbridge Junction, one of the encroachment hotspots. Chalai in East Fort Junction recorded around 3,001 moves and East Fort’s Padmanabha theater arm around 2,500. was in danger. “There is absolutely no space for pedestrians on the road. Roads turn into death traps,” he said.

He added that the society should take steps to renovate market squares and create more space to rehabilitate pavement traders and allow free movement of pedestrians. Experts, meanwhile, have criticized the lack of strict enforcement of the law. Senior Scientist and Head of NATPAC’s Transportation Planning and Engineering Division, Shaheem S, noted that crashes involving pedestrians were not meticulously recorded. “These accidents happen because of encroachment. Authorities should take action against violators,” he said. “They should also do something about clogged drains and clogging issues.”

Company officials, meanwhile, said they had limits on taking action against street vendors. Although the civic body took steps to issue identity cards to street vendors, the initiative came to nothing. According to a company survey, there are at least 5,000 traditional street vendors in the city. “There are laws that mandate the protection of the livelihoods of street vendors, and we cannot remove them,” an official said. “Heddling and street vending increased after the pandemic ended. We intervene when there is a complaint or when the encroachment is a threat to pedestrians.

Road safety expert Anil Kumar Pandala pointed out that the district road safety committee was inactive. “There is no system in place to monitor these breaches,” the former managing director of Trivandrum Road Development Corporation Ltd added.

“Thiruvananthapuram is a city that has continuous and defined paths. The sidewalks are being encroached on by mobile food trucks, a flagrant violation of the Motor Vehicle Act. Government departments have also broken the rules by installing electronic toilets on sidewalks and undertaking construction activities that encroach on them. Anil Kumar pointed out that illegal parking is another problem plaguing Thiruvananthapuram. “A lot of people park their vehicle on the sidewalks, encroaching on the sidewalks. These violations are often overlooked,” he added.

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