A road paved with mixed intentions

Hotel on the lake road Thekkady

The pavement is being rebuilt on the street leading to ‘downtown’ Thekkady. Right now it looks like in many other Indian cities, which is apparently like a constant work in progress according to this article by N N Sachitanand in the New Indian Express:

Once upon a time, roadside pavements were meant for the use of pedestrians so that they could safely traverse the length of the road without being knocked down by traffic. That is why the Americans (as in the US of A) call them sidewalks. Indians have adopted and adapted to this Western concept to suit their own environment and, in the process, mangled its original purpose beyond recognition.

…or an extreme-gardening experimentation :

…Bungalow-owners [of New Delhi] have decided that pavement space is too precious to be wasted on a mundane purpose like pedestrian pathways. So, they have chosen to be environmentally conscious and extended the reach of their compounds to enclose the pavement in front and convert the acquired space into gardens.

I am the ultimate pedestrian: I don’t drive, I don’t cycle on the road because I’m afraid of cars. I don’t know how to use a scooter, but there’s an all women scooter driving school down the street here, so maybe this is my chance. I selfishly hope this rebuild will make street crossing a little less exciting and interesting :

The other distinguished pioneers of alternative pavement use in India have been the roadside vendors. Being micro-scale business persons, they have leveraged the low-occupancy cost of the pavement spaces to outcompete the regular shops in the buildings bordering the pavement.

Back home in France the pavement may be an unmoveable institution, however pedestrian’s rights and well-being don’t come first when urban planning is implemented. Probably because there are no pedestrian lobbies.

To read the full article click here 

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