The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the top bureaucracy-driven planning authority, have planned some 100 skywalks across Bengaluru and floated tenders for buildings across the city by investing crores of taxpayers’ money without consulting any civic body or the public. The skywalks which are being constructed in different parts of the city are unscientifically planned. The colorful skywalks do add an aesthetic touch to the city. It does attract attention but are seldom used. When it’s the same story of the many skywalks that have come across the city, why do we need to build a 100 more? But definitely, let’s go ahead with this plan since it’s much easier to loot the people in the name of development that anything else.
Bengaluru is not a city for Skywalks at every street, certainly not for the streets like Jaynagar 3rd Block. There is neither proper parking space for vehicles nor footpaths to walk for pedestrians. The so called dream project ‘TenderSURE’ of State government tend to be clogged with haphazard parking of two wheelers and tens of hawkers.
The solution to this mess would have to be to expansion of the pavements (or building new ones where they did not exist), relocate hawkers from the footpaths to the nearest open areas and regulate the flow of human traffic. More awareness of walking on zebra crossing amongst the pedestrians will bring more order in the system just like in the western countries. But instead, we’ve got these dreadful structures called “skywalks”.
The skywalks have led to ill-placed pillars and columns, messing up life on arterial roads below them. With Bengaluru’s commuters using them to shelter from rain, the skywalks also become night shelters for the homeless and party joints for road side drug addicts.
Have Skywalks eased the movement of pedestrians who negotiate their way at least twice a day to and from their offices and commercial establishments?
No one is quite sure about this; not even the BBMP. Handful of the skywalks have received a good response with atleast a few footfalls a day while most of them have only an average to poor or very poor patronage, according to studies conducted in the last few years.
The lack of planning of the skywalks, inadequate security, non-working escalators and the huge amount of dirt on the pathway have kept a majority of pedestrians away from skywalks. They still use the roads below, braving the traffic and the hawkers.
The BBMP must reflect on this state of affairs. If it had sought public consultation, if it had listened to urban policy activists, if it had listened to active citizens, if it had paid heed to the objections that came its way rather than being greedy, Bengaluru could have been spared the concrete elephants.
The unscientific, non-democratic and rigid ways of its functioning means that Bengaluru may end up with many other developmental projects that do not best serve the needs of its citizens. And the BBMP has not obliged to answer us.
More than 50% Pedestrians are of those killed on the roads and potholes. Yet, planning for their safe and comfortable commute is not given priority or attention. When it is given, they get a somewhat useless thing such as the skywalk.
BBMP on the wisdom of spending such a large amount of money in the name of Development, especially without public consultations or involvement is creating yet another way for corrupt practices.
It’s high time for BBMP to think and stop lobbying for unnecessary projects in the name of development which is not at all beneficial for public in general.