Punjab Govt decides to make Footpath & Cycle Tracks in future roads

Anushka Khare Posted on: 2023-05-08 06:00:00 Viewer: 1,666 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Chandigarh

Punjab Govt decides to make Footpath & Cycle Tracks in future roads

Chandigarh, India (Urban Transport News): The Government of Punjab has recently decided to implement the "Right to Walk" by making it mandatory for all road owing agencies in the state, including National Highway Authorityof India (NHAI), to provide foothpath and cycle tracks in all future expansions of existing roads and constrcution of new ones in the state.

The government has issued these directions following two court orders after PILs were filed at Punjab & Haryana High Court and another in the Supreme Court of India by Navdeep Hasija, Traffic Advisor to Government of Punjab. The courts have sought the action taken reports on safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

The letter sent last week added that all agencies such as the public works department, local bodies, NHAI and urban development departments have been instructed to prepare an action plan to construct footpaths and cycle tracks with a time frame and budget provision.

According to Government data, the number of pedestrians killed in road crashes has increased from 25,858 in 2019 to 29,124 in 2021, indicating that road infrastructures don’t cater to the safety of pedestrians. The road accident report of 2022 has not yet been published.

The Supreme Court, in an interim order last year, had asked states to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists by providing them separate, seamless and safe pedestrian lanes and cycle tracks.

Navdeep Asija himself had filed a PIL in the Punjab & Haryana High Courts in 2010 seeking the “Right to Walk under Article 21” by ensuring safe facilities for pedestrians. The petition had highlighted how its common policy makers, planners, and engineers have an understanding that those on non-motorised mode such as walking and cycling have an inferior right to use public roads compared to the motor vehicles. It also flagged how there is a perception that roads are funded by motorists.

The plea before the HC had also pointed out how pedestrians and cyclists are sometimes forbidden from using a particular public road to avoid delaying motorised traffic and this has pushed the level of motorisation, especially private vehicles on roads in urban areas.

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