The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has taken cognisance of a recent report in Hindustan Times (HT) highlighting the reasons behind the citizens’ apathy towards underpasses and foot over bridges (FOBs) in the city and allocated Rs2 crores for the repair and maintenance of this vital pedestrian infrastructure. In so doing, the PMC intends to create awareness among citizens about utilising underpasses and FOBs and enhance their safety.
Ajay Wayse, executive engineer, projects department, PMC, said, “Upon inspection, we identified an urgent need for regular maintenance and repair of underpasses and FOBs. We have set aside a budget of around Rs2 crores to address issues such as water leakage, damaged tiles, faulty lighting, cleanliness and security. It is observed that people avoid using underpasses if they are unclean, lack security personnel or have inadequate lighting.”
“To ensure safety, we are actively working on deploying security personnel. It has come to our attention that middle-aged individuals in particular refrain from using underpasses and FOBs. They often choose to cross the road directly, disregarding the time savings afforded by such infrastructure. To encourage the usage of underpasses and FOBs, we have decided to implement awareness campaigns through banners, posters, and various promotional activities,” Wayse said.
While there are a total 18 pedestrian underpasses, nine motor underpasses, and nine FOBs in the city, very few of them are used with those at Erandwane, Deccan and Pune railway station seeing consistent usage by pedestrians, particularly senior citizens and students.
Ashish Patil, a resident of Vishrantwadi, said, “The lift at the Vishrantwadi Chowk FOB has been non-functional for an extended period. Consequently, many of us prefer to cross the road instead, despite the inherent dangers posed by the busy junction. When the lift was operational, I would use the FOB regularly. However, for over a year now, it is not functioning. If the PMC addresses the maintenance and repair needs of the lift, people will undoubtedly utilise it.”
The Nagar Road Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has two underpasses; one at Viman Nagar Chowk and the other at Chandan Nagar Chowk however both are suffering from lack of cleanliness, inadequate lighting and neglect.
Ruksar Sheikh, a resident of Chandan Nagar, said, “Upon alighting at the BRTS stop, the only option to cross the road is the underpass. However, it is consistently unclean with liquor bottles thrown around and a filthy odour. Despite these conditions, commuters have no alternative but to utilise it. The PMC should assign security guards to ensure the safety of women, children, and senior citizens.”
A senior PMC official said, “The corporation is allocating funds for the construction of underpasses and FOBs based on demands from local corporators. Prior to the construction, the administration conducts thorough technical surveys, evaluating factors such as traffic movement, congestion, and number of footfalls. However, it is worth noting that building each FOB or underpass costs over Rs2 crores.”