Construction of pedestrian islands has begun and work is nearing completion in at least two places — Esplanade and Exide crossings — where pedestrians who fail to cross from one end of a road to another in a single green signal can wait.
At present construction is underway at the Dorina crossing — the intersection of SN Banerjee Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road — and at the Exide crossing — the intersection of AJC Bose Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road.
Work for construction of similar islands will begin at the Minto Park crossing, DL Khan Road-AJC Bose Road crossing and Kidderpore-AJC Bose Road crossing in Hastings, shortly, said the senior official.
The police and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will conduct joint inspections of all the places where the construction of such islands has been proposed to consider the feasibility.
The Telegraph had earlier reported that the Kolkata police had sent a proposal to the KMC to build such islands. A KMC official said they have received proposals for building such islands at around 18 large crossings in the city.
The islands will be between 6 and 8 inches above the road level to make it clear to both pedestrians and motorists that the space was not meant for vehicular movement.
The islands are being built in the middle of the road, along the median dividers so that vehicular movement is not obstructed in any way.
The KMC official said that they were also considering fixing reflective boards or paints that can help motorists spot the pedestrian islands while driving at night.
Not all crossings will have islands of similar size as it would depend on the space available at that particular crossing. At the Dorina crossing between 15 and 20 people would be able to wait at the island, whereas between 5 and 10 people would be able to wait at the island being built at the Exide crossing.
A traffic police officer said that they had planned to make an island at the Gariahat crossing too, but it could not materialise because of the tram tracks.
“There are many crossings where pedestrians fail to cross from one end of the road to another in one green signal. These islands will give refuge to them while vehicles ply. When the signal will again turn red for vehicles, the pedestrians can cross the rest of the road,” said a police officer.
“It will especially benefit the elderly and also reduce accidents.”
The list of crossings where such islands have been proposed also includes Mahatma Gandhi Road and Chittaranjan Avenue crossing, junction of CIT Road and Maniktala Main Road, Ruby intersection on EM Bypass and the crossings in front of the main gates of Tollygunge Club and Calcutta International School.
A police officer who has worked with the Kolkata police’s traffic department for over three decades said: “The refuge islands are something that we are doing for pedestrians. The traffic in the city is chaotic and it is not possible to provide exclusive time for pedestrians,” he said.