Police have identified 17 places near key intersections where they want to build foot overbridges and have engaged experts from IIT Kharagpur to conduct a feasibility study.
Arijit Sinha, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, has written to the IIT’s civil engineering department saying the police were “striving to ensure a systematic pedestrian management system by introducing foot overbridges at busy intersections”. Sinha requested the department to “study” the list of 17 proposed locations for foot overbridges (FOBs) and “suggest whether these locations are viable” or not for the construction.
The police have also requested the IIT to suggest short-term and long-term measures to regulate pedestrian movement at the 17 places.
“They have said they would try and finish the survey in 45 days,” Sinha told The Telegraph.
Officers said the new FOBs will have escalators or elevators.
Some of the places identified for the FOBs include the Esplanade crossing, Rashbehari intersection, Tollygunge tram depot, the crossing in front of Jadavpur police station, Rashbehari Avenue-Sarat Bose Road intersection, Gariahat Road (in front of Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan School), in front of the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital and across EM Bypass near the floating market in Patuli.
Officers said the list was drawn up after consultation with the officers in charge of traffic guards and taking into account pedestrian load on those stretches.
“Out of 196 fatalities recorded last year on Kolkata’s roads, 77 were pedestrians. Two-wheeler-riders were far behind at 50,” said an officer at Lalbazar.
Several FOBs across Kolkata have failed to attract pedestrians in adequate numbers because they lack an escalator or an elevator.
“We are aware that many of the current FOBs, including the ones at Sealdah, Park Circus and Gariahat, hardly serve their purpose because they don’t have escalators or elevators. So we have decided that the new ones will have those,” said an officer.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had in February inaugurated a foot overbridge near the Jal Vayu Vihar intersection on EM Bypass. The structure is fitted with escalators and has largely been successful in reducing the number of people walking across the intersection, an officer said.
“We have proposed two foot overbridges on Strand Road because of heavy pedestrian movement there. Without escalators, neither will be effective,” the officer said.