A city for pedestrians

A few years ago, before hindi television channels bought rights for the latest movies, they would repeat their collection of ancients. Day after night after day, we’d watch Amitabh, Shashi Kapoor, and Prem Chopra. They’d be in bell bottoms, psychadelic shirts, doing the twist, in chains while their mother/sister/baby/wife/everyone loved were about to be lowered into a molten steel pit. These movies were also a pretty good record of what Bombay looked like back then. There seemed to be more fewer cars than people and, more importantly, there seemed to be plenty of space. The sort of space you can now only find at night. That, however, might just change.

There’s a signboard at Marine Drive which you just can’t miss. It has before and after pictures of the place. The after looks gorgeous. People will walk on flat maintained pavements. Trees will be trimmed and fit into neat little boxes of soil all along the coast. The promenade will lose some of its character, but it will become more pleasing to the eye. All over Bombay it seems as if things are starting to move. Right now changes are afoot for the airport. Since last year, Andheri’s cheap tar roads, whose landscape changed everyday, have been replaced by flat cement tracks. In South Bombay, a road by the Oval maidan has been cordoned off for a rework. Walkers are in for a treat. Many of these roads will be beside flat pavements. These pavements will be free of obstruction. If this is the shape the city takes, it’ll be a wonderful place to live, work and travel.

The offshoot of wide walking spaces is that there will be fewer people on roads, which are essentially for cars. So drivers can be alert for other cars, and not be on high alert for pedestrians who venture into their path. So that’s less stress right there. And less stress equals more happiness. So good pavements equals a somewhat happier city. Simple.

5 Comments so far

  1. Shak (unregistered) on February 6th, 2006 @ 3:15 pm

    “…more fewer cars than people…” ?!?!?!?!?…WTF is that supposed to mean…?

  2. Moushumi (unregistered) on February 6th, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

    If Mumbai takes the lead, then maybe we here in Chennai can expect some trickling down of such initiatives. What I had seen of Mumbai it is not as bad as Chennai where in some places the roads have been expanded to eat into the space for the sidewalk and the sidewalks are just painted on the walls of whatever lines the road. Can you beat that? :)

  3. Kris Bedekar (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 7:31 pm


    Talk about beating Chennai with regards to cutting into side walks etc. if u go to areas like Ray Road (a reasonably long stretch of road spanning few KMs right in the heart of the Mumbai metropolis) you would find the following:

    1) Multi storey hutments by the road made out of plastic sheets, planks of rotten wood, bits of steel etc. not to forger every such hutment would have a TV and a cable connection… don’t know how they get their electricity.
    2) Taps and Water: Any time during the day 24/365 there is someone doing the washing up on the road??
    3) If a truck stalls at a signal, there is a group of kids who climb up and nick any thing possible, metal, rope, strings whatever they can grab. It is not surprising that such encroachments resulting into accidents on a daily basis.
    Now Moushumi…. Do u think this beats Chennai? (Believe me it doesn’t make me proud)

    I understand that these people are not the most privileged people in the world…. And its probably not an issue about road safety or beautification of a city… it just surprises me that these people are here by choice.. !!

  4. Saumya Raja (unregistered) on February 21st, 2006 @ 5:25 am

    when u wrote “it’ll be a wonderful place to live, work and travel.” it made me dream about this really beautiful place called Mumbai. This city is still beautiful to me although it has some problems, but like u mentioned if this is the way it keeps on moving, it’ll just get better.
    i now hope to see Mumbai as what the McKinseyReport says- a world class city by 2013

  5. Saumya Raja (unregistered) on February 21st, 2006 @ 5:27 am

    just a little change of words
    i am longing to see Mumbai as what the McKinseyReport says- a world class city by 2013

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