Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The tale I have for my beloved Bloggers today is "The Curious Case of Signals atop the South Bridge"! No doubt those of you who traverse those roads would have seen them grinning from atop their heavenly abode, mounted atop shiny black poles! They look like early Christmas celebrations, put up perhaps by an overly enthusiastic City Administration to celebrate the Holiday Spirit. Very Bright too... and shiny.
Ever wondered what they were doing atop a bridge though? Apart from wresting innocent drivers attention from their steering wheels, I mean! I don't drive and so won't claim to know much about the art, but it seems to me to be very unlikely for drivers to want to break atop any bridge! And even if we are encouraged to, I wouldn't want to break my vehicle at an uncomfortable obtuse or 90 degree angle! However, a maths freak would enjoy it of course, " If car A started from the bottom of the bridge and stopped midway between Signal no. 2 and Signal no.3, at what angle to the road would his vehicle be situated at?" May be they wish to encourage geometry!
Nonsense aside, I fail to conceive a plausible reason for traffic signals, that too 4 of them atop a small bridge. While it is true that traffic does cause mayhem and that South Bridge records some of the worst of it, a bit of traffic management, a dash of patience and a good bit of maneuvering is all that one requires to survive it!
What next?, this bewildered Kochiite wonders?
Reinventing Cochin Cycle Rally on 5th Dec was an occasion to revolutionize to a new mode of transportation in the city. 350 pedal pushers hit the road for re-inventing the city. Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil inaugurated the rally at Durbar Hall grounds at 7.30 a.m. and Mayor Mercy Williams flagged off the rally.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Hear ye, hear ye!!!
Call to all the health conscious, the eco-friendly inclined and urban-reform oriented Kochiietes!!!!
Pedal on the 5th of December from Darbar Hall Ground and back for a better City!
Some people express themselves through music, some through dance and yet others through art... A PEDAL PUSHER expresses his OPINION by cycling for positive City change...
Cycle alongside those you've elected to represent you... Cycle with your friendly City Police... Cycle alongside your peers, colleagues, friends and families... cycle for your believes, your convictions and your ideas... CYCLE FOR FUN, FITNESS AND CHANGE..
Cities are a part of our lives and language. Globally, the dimensions of city culture have changed to accommodate the growing needs of the city people. Cities are mostly places where people meet for leisure and pleasure. It should accordingly, open up, invite and include people, and offer various avenues for entertainment. With the ever-increasing environmental and health concerns, a city where shopping and entertainment go hand-in-hand with environmental consciousness is a dream which should transcend into a reality. However, urbanism in the cities can be generated only if we have ecological and socially sustainable platforms. Only this can herald a vibrant city.
A country mirroring varied cultures and lifestyle, the India of today is redefined by its upscale cities, which lead a global existence. Indian cities have grown at alarming rates; unfortunately they are not landmarks of much, except perhaps haywire traffic and pollution. Our new-age cities are unplanned agglomerations that suffer from bad traffic, pollution, complex life situations and lack of insight. And Kochi is no different.
Kochi, identified by governmental records as a metropolis, is a city with a population of 13.55 lakhs. It is a mjor contributor to Kerala’s economy, contributing upto 14% of the state GDP. But city life is literally in shambles. Infrastructure-wise, narrow roads and traffic congestion, speeding buses, unplanned medians and flooded roads, lack of pedestrian sidewalks and open drains have all turned life worse for the average Kochiite. The city has ceased to be environment-friendly as well. There is a marked absence of green open spaces. Trees are cut down in order to make way for swank helipads and concrete development. Waste disposal has come to mean dumping it in the most unlikely of spaces. Also, the growing number of vehicles cause considerable ecological damage through emissions and noise from internal combustion engines. An AQI up to 50 is regarded as good while the 51-100 range is considered moderate. Anything above 100 is considered unhealthy while those above 150 are considered down right harmful. In Kochi, the Air Quality Index (AQI) readings are from between 160-200 on an average. All this mayhem warrants immediate action.
In pursuit of discovering newer ways to energize city life and to help build a ‘people oriented city’ Reinventing Cochin, one of the leading initiatives of Centre for Public Policy Research, is seeking to organize a campaign unlike any other - a Cycle Rally! The Rally, sought to be held during the 5th of December 2009 to coincide with the World Pollution Prevention Day and the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, is aimed at reviving the luster of greenery and the power of easy mobility that Kochi is slowly, but surely losing. This, we believe can be achieved by efficiently integrating cycling into mainstream transportation.
Cycling is one of the most efficient modes of non-motorized transportation system. Cities have realized its multi-faceted potential in being eco-friendly, affordable and healthy. Cycling also transcends barriers of class, age and physical ability. It is an expression of freedom. It is a symbol of equality and human dignity. It will help Kochi rebrand it self from a disorganized agglomeration into a ‘people oriented’ city. A city for ‘ALL’!!!
So…Join us in breathing life back into the city – towards a safer, eco-friendly, healthy and fun Kochi! Healthy City, Healthy You, today and tomorrow!!!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We left the concert wondering how longer it would take for our state to learn something from our neighbour.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sounds very cliché doesn’t it? No, you guessed wrong! It’s not a harlequin romance or some cheesy chic-lit. It’s an actual ice cream parlour under the Marine Drive Bridge, here in the heart of the Kochi city! While it certainly has a name by itself, I fancy my tasteful title to be the better contender. Besides, I’m sure they’d appreciate the anonymity!
When Onam celebrations at the office concluded with a delightful walk down the Marine Drive and at the parlour under it’s bridge, I was a bit miffed, being the self proclaimed ice cream aficionado that I am, that something so picturesque managed to completely escape my sights and taste buds. The ice cream, while it wont be giving Baskin Robbins a run for its money anytime soon, has a certain appeal to it when you eat it watching the waters and breathing in its salty air.
This brings us back to what I initially intended to speak about. The architecture is a fine example of Urban Planning and space utilization. The Parlour is not immediately visible when you glance at Marine Drive and that’s its only drawback. Its clientele are probably regular visitors to the area who clearly know the spot. But the parlour, advertised to be Greater Kochi’s attempt at beautifying our city, has achieved at least two of its goals. It’s certainly relaxing to watch the boats passing by while you recline there and it is most definitely neat and tidy, which is, unfortunately more than you can say for most places in Kochi.
It’s neatly tucked away under the Bridge thereby reducing clutter which would have occurred, say, had the structure been smack dab in the middle of Drive! And by artfully fitting it under the Bridge, GCDA managed to do something else as well (which am not sure has come to their attention yet) and that is reduce littering space for Kochieties. We are an interesting breed in that any space that we know to be relatively empty and not being somebody else’s parking lot, we’re more than happy to pile it with garbage and let the same rot and fill the air with its fragrance. It seems that by ensuring a lack of empty spaces alone, will we be able to remedy this problem!
And speaking of space utilization, I fail to understand why the empty spaces under the four main bridges dotting the city cannot be put to a better use. True, some are over rivers and parallel to railway lines. Nor do I insist that there be an ice cream parlour under every bridge. But I still encounter a lot of free urban space. This is why it can be converted to a parking lot, an auto stand, a government run hotel or even better, public toilets! How convenient would it seem to a vary traveller, to find the most basic amenities close at hand and together!
Further, Kochi has been on a mad drive to make itself eco-friendly. What of the many bus stands within the city? With buses parked this way and that, a true estimate of the actual space in a bus stand is never really made. If buses would, for once forgoing their chaotic way of life, line up in an orderly fashion, I warrant there would be space enough for some creative construction. And what better way to do so than ensuring a vehicle parking lot-and-cycle rental under the Bridge? Vehicles can be parked under the bridge and people can rent cycles and take off into the city. Eco-friendly and Efficient!
What, a bit to advanced for you? Not that I blame you. I personally know people who enjoy the clutter of the city and I will grudgingly admit to having been its closet fan in the past. But not at the expense of urban progress.
There was a time when such urban creative constructions were touted as being heretical, but these days, with more and more people voicing such concerns, I see the Kochieties cynicism being replaced with scepticism. Perhaps, all is not well in ‘Gods own Country'???
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
What I am talking about, is the launch of this website: www.rtination.com. What it gives you is, a much much easier way of filing RTI applications. You register yourself on the website, fill in your application, pay a nominal fee, and they deliver your application. What I found easy was, I just sit in my room, filling an RTI application while I might be listening to music, or enjoying a cup of tea( that is how the website puts it: let's make changes in India while enjoying a cup of tea) and pay a charge of 125 Rs and let RTINation do the rest of the work. Saves time and effort. Well, that is another addition to the facilitator's bandwagon, what with facilitators in almost all other fields. However, this definitely sounds good, because the website seems to be getting decent amount of hits, with applications ranging from development of Vizag airport to midday meal schemes. Let's just hope this keeps the RTI act alive, and helps in promoting RTI as well.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Meet the Kochiete. Accelerated Progress is what they live by. Change is their nature and Challenge is in their blood.
Watch Kochi come together for a reason! She will run for what she believes are her rights! For better infrastructure, better participation, better governance, for a better tomorrow!
Kochi today. The World tomorrow!
Are you a Kochiete?
Are you up for the dare?
Are you ready to ‘Run. Challenge. Change?’"
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Kochi Marathon 2010, slotted for the 10th of January 2010, is a long-distance foot race which aims the participation of the Kochiites for the welfare of the city. It is a platform for all the citizens of the city of Cochin to come together and share their aspirations for bringing in internationally standardized infrastructural development to the city. It further provides the city with a platform to come together in a celebration that cuts across social and economic barriers.
It is a follow up plan for “Reinventing Cochin” a project carried out in the city of Cochin by Centre for Public Policy and Research. It is an attempt to ensure the participation of all the people in the city, in the efforts of the organization to transform the city into a world class model.
Cochin is a historically renowned centre of commerce and has a unique niche in the world tourism map. However, lack of infrastructural facilities, especially in terms poor condition of roads, have been often a hurdle for her economic development and a blot on her pristine image. Owing to this reason the livability of the city also has been at stake. The project, “Reinventing Cochin” has identified many internationally acclaimed developmental projects for dealing with this problem. However they can not come into fruition without the support and participation of the residents of the city. Cochin Marathon 2010 is the first effort in this regard.
Development of the city of Cochin will definitely ensure the development of all the stakeholders in the city. With this view in mind Cochin Marathon 2010 will ensure the participation and collaboration of all the stakeholders in the city. All the people in the city can participate in the run either as runners or as volunteers. Besides, all the International, National and local business enterprises which have a stake in the city can join with the organizers of the event as sponsors of the event.
For enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries, please contact email@example.com
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Traffic solutions from abroad
KOCHI: The number of vehicles in Kochi has increased from 91,411 in 1989-90 to 9,38,124 in 2007-08, showing an average yearly growth of 13 percent. With cabs and vans adding to the vehicle fleet every year, there is overcrowding on the roads. There is a matching rise in the sale of scooters and motorbikes as well.According to the records of the Motor Vehicles Department, about 2000 vehicles are registered in the city limits in a month, 85 percent of which are private vehicles. There are about 630 city buses, 3000 autorickshaws, 6500 taxis and countless cars and motorcycles on crammed city roads according to a study by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).“There is no need to worry. Mobility hubs could be the solution to ease traffic, for a sustainable transportation concept in your city,” said Susan Zielinski, managing director, Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transportation (SMART), Centre for Advancing Research & Solutions for Society, University of Michigan.“You need to back such plans which will take the load off the public road system. Such plans should get the boost from the common traveller who feels frustrated every time he ends in a traffic jam,” added Gordan Feller, chief executive officer, Urban Age Institute, USA.Both experts were in the city to participate in a discussion on an invitation from the CPPR to interact with the officials on the SMART concept which could be introduced in the city.“The fact that the city is thinking of a physical facility as a solution to handle the traffic is a vital step,” said Gordon. Susan, who was a city councillor in Toronto, later on advocated the cause of sustainable transport.‘The investment for such development comes from public-private ventures.The idea is to increase connectivity, get the people to use the public transport system and help public and private business growth,’ she said.Gordon feels that entrepreneurs around the world have to realise that the social is up for sale.“The more comfortable and peopleoriented you make it, the more markets you retain. So now, Smart Companies are competing with each other to offer high quality living to people.” The scenario is same in all cities across the world where the authorities are afraid of change. “We actually did a cycle choir campaign on the streets to put across the message that we need cycle lanes,” says Susan. The cops and the authorities couldn’t prevent us because we did a very peaceful campaign.“A year later, the city council cleared the project for the cycle lane.” Gordon believes that the culmination of small, individual decisions made by people give way to a huge decision, which has its impact on everyone.The most crucial factor is that the policy makers who have always had leverage, now also have the understanding to realise that it is not the million dollar projects that foster change but the small allocations. The little prods and pushes that add value to a project take it beyond change into the sphere of transformation.Susan concluded by saying that in 2005, SMART began work with Ford Motor Company and a range of other business, government, and NGO partners to address sustainable transportation issues and opportunities in the developing world. Over time many more partners have joined the effort.More recently, similar work began in Washington DC, Atlanta, Ann Arbor, Detroit and Los Angeles.Are the existing transportation services at the location underused? Could they benefit from marketing and branding with a hub and from the new transportation services?? Is the location under-serviced? Does the existing transit service already operate at capacity? Would attracting more riders pose a problem for the transit provider? Would developing a hub at this location encourage people to not take out their cars, or would it just be transferring trips from one mode to another? were some of the questions that the two experts felt needed to be addressed when planning a mobility hub.“Solutions have to be localised,” they said. “There is no point in looking at other cities, because your city is yours alone!!”
Mobility hub at Vytilla proposed
Government likely to consider project to streamline traffic flow in the city
KOCHI: The State government is expected to consider a city mobility project that has been prepared with Vytilla as the hub, in a fortnight.
The project aims at solving a good share of commuting problems in the city by creating amenities in and around the Vytilla Junction, by integrating different modes of transport like roadways, metro rail, railways and waterways. It was prepared for the CII-Kerala by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), with help from the Kumar Group of architects. The report that was submitted recently to the District Collector, was discussed at an interactive session organised here on Saturday by the CPPR on ‘Connecting the dots: A smart approach to solving traffic and transport issues in the developed world’.
Referring to the reports by RITES in 2001, NATPAC in 2006 and the city mobility plan, the project speaks of the need to relocate the Kaloor private bus stand and the KSRTC bus stand out of the city, to an integrated and futuristic terminal at Vytilla, so that there is less congestion in the city. The Agriculture Department and Kerafed own 25 acres of land near the junction and this is ideal to host the mobility hub where long-distance buses and KSRTC services can be based. There would be space to park 220 buses, 900 cars and 120 autorickshaws. A shopping mall, food courts, cultural centre, hotel, swimming pool, waterfront and boat jetty too can be set up.
From Vytilla, public transport systems can provide connectivity with the western and eastern parts of the city, West Kochi, and also regional hubs like Vypeen, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Thripunithura and Aroor. Vytilla is also well- connected with National Highways 47, 17 and 49, the seaport and the airport. The proposed metro rail passes through the junction and National Waterway III is located close by. By basing operations in Vytilla, the KSRTC and private buses would be able to save huge amounts on fuel, apart from the time saved in not entering the city. Thus, the Vytilla mobility hub has evolved as a natural remedy and is envisioned as a long-term solution to Kochi’s transporting problems.
The report points to the ever-widening gap between the growing number of vehicles, inadequate roads and unscientific infrastructure that have turned life worse for Kochiites, making living and working in the city a less desirable proposition.
The steep increase in the number of private vehicles, the resultant commotion and pollution undermine progress.Despite this, public transport systems operate in a very inflexible manner. Apart from the 630 private city buses, the numerous mofussil buses operate mainly from the private bus terminal at Kaloor and the KSRTC stand. They ply along the high demand corridors like Banerji Road, M.G. Road and S.A. Road
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
passengers from paravur to ernakulam and vice versa have a dreadful picture of edappally level crossing because the railway gate is notorious for it's non-cooperation, and often creates trouble. the road is too narrow and insufficient for heavy vehicles to pass on. though government has acquired land for building a wider road, the progress is still taped in a file. it takes at least an hour to remove traffic block in this particular area.situation is not different in many other places inside the city limits. people have been crying for over bridges but authorities are not opening their eyes.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
A Walk in The Rain
And this is 'Greater Cochin Development'.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Parks are necessary in every city. Those green shady niches are really an escape for the city population to relax and inhale some fresh air.The idea of a community park popped up in somebody's mind was just for this simple reason. but today, the word park is associated to children. atleast in Kochi. But the concern is not that. We have two parks located adjacent to each other in the Convent Road. One is a public park and the other is the children's park. The public park is free for the public whereas the children's park charges an entry fee of Rs. 5 from an adult. Both these parks are two common hangout places for Kochiites. Long ago.
The scenario has changed topsy turvy now. This blog is with special reference to the Childrens' Park and the Renewable Energy Park constructed inside the park.I had visited the park few days before with regard to my project on biogas which is a renewable source of energy. My entry to this park is the motive for my blog. The Cochin Corporation launched the Renewable Energy Park right inside the Childrens' Park so that the children as well as their parents get familiarised with the renewable sources of energy and make it popularised in the city. It has models of solar water heater, solar battery and how it can be used to generate electricity and also solar cookers, windmills, biogas plant model etc. The Corporation spent lakhs of rupees in this venture and it was bloated by the media well.
Years have passed since its inception and the media lost interest in it. And there lies the Renewable Energy Park at the backyard of the Park unvisited by children or their parents and haunted by tall grasses grown. The models of the windmill and solar panels and biogas plants lay rusted in the ground and the those models when asked to be demonstrated, the person appointed in charge was busy packing his things to go home said in an indifferent manner with a slight tint of sarcasm, that "it won't work. its been so for months!" I had to return disappointed but what made me even more disappointed is the indifferent attitude of the people. Isnt there anybody to just ask why it isn't working. And this park has restricted entry only but still are not they using the money they gain to maintain the park? atleast mow the grass?
Hope there would be greener response to this from the part of the corporation and the Kochiites.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
now those memories remain as memories. u no longer see those butterflies in ur garden nor in ur neighbourhood!!! u dont find them happily drinking nectar from flowers and those beautiful winged friends are no longer the city kid's friends when matched to playstations and animated videos.
but its a pity to know that the disappearance of butterfly is not because of televison or internet but attributed to a greater villain called the pollution. the climatic conditions have been altered so much so that the butterflies no longer could adapt to the atmospheric changes. moreover, mushrooming of apartments and loss of free green land and free compounds have forced them to search greener pastures.
another factor is the economic point of view of the butterflies! there has been a substantial decrease in the supply of flowers. yeah, technically speaking, we have been importing flowers from tamil nadu.true.so human demand for flowers has increased.so have the butterfly's! but the only problem is they want it fresh.direct from plant. but we humans have so fond of dead fraozen items that we should be called scavengers instead of omnivores.so the supply of fresh flowers became a problem for them in city so they moved on to the nearest available forests(may be very a long distance for them) in search of flowers. since distance became a problem for them, they settled in there and said goodbye to the city. as a result, butterflies has now became an animated reality for the kids of this generation. and those winged friends of yesteryears have confined themselves to the books of a kindergarden student.
B for butterfly!
What is the other alternative then? Enforcing. When something is imposed on you, you always follow it.Because there is no question of what if I don't or why should I. It is always you should, because the law says so. That is the only choice you have. Well, now how would that fit into solving traffic problems and providing comfortable travel? Radical as it may sound, what we can do is impose a traffic free road. And it is not like it hasn't been done before. Many roads in New York City have successfully implemented the same.
It enables a safe atmosphere. And in a way, it also acts as a solution to the problem of pollution as well. Furthermore, such systems always cater to the need for a public space. It satiates the people's desire for a public space, where they can relax, engage in fun filled activities and so on. The presence of such a public space can even boost the economy in the particular area. Well, solving traffic problems to boosting the local economy. Doesn't sound bad, does it? But what must not be forgotten is that such a process should integrate itself to the rest of the city. It cannot be executed in isolation, as it would backfire, increasing the traffic by manifolds elsewhere.
Tailpiece: A Radio Jockey seemed to have a better solution to the aforementioned delay problem. To quote her, " If you face the problem of getting late due to traffic, try starting your journey well in advance!!"
Monday, May 25, 2009
It is of so commercial as well as strategic importance but it is sad to know that there is no proper bus stop towards the Tripunithura route from Vytilla. It is always so crowded at the place where the bus stops and buses stop wherever they want and that too near to the crossing. There should be a proper bus stop at Vytilla which should be atleast 100m away from the signal so that there wont be overcrowding of private buses.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Today I was walking along M.G. Road, for a stretch of maybe 1.5 kms. At the first No Parking sign, a car was parked right under it. It might as well have been an occasional thing, perhaps happening seldom. However, what I saw at the rest of the signs say a different story. Out of the five signs that I saw, almost all of them had vehicles parked under them. At one particular place, the sign is actually only a few meters away from a pay and park facility. In addition, to make things all the more difficult, the 1.5 km stretch that I walked, had cars parked through out, on both sides of M.G.Road. So much so, that the sides of the road look like parking areas.
Friday, March 6, 2009
An area dominated by residential houses, shops, a High School and a railway station, it’s undoubtedly a busy vicinity. The bustops and the railway station contribute towards the bulk of the pedestrians who walk to and fro from the stations, use the public transport systems, flag autos and frequent the many shops around it. Thus, being an ideal place to audit, the stretch between Girls High School, Eranakulam and the South Bridge was chosen.
Beginning at the curb near the School, a clear disparity can be seen in the width of the footpath used by the pedestrians. Beginning with a comfortable width of 8.5 ft, it shrinks, mainly because of the presence of a transformer, to a mere 3.25 ft as per the rest of the area. Not only is the area very busy with heavy pedestrian flow, but the footpath before the school has been converted into a makeshift bustop inspite of an actual one existing mere meters away. Therefore, the pavements (or whatever is left of them) are agog with people waiting for the evening bus and venders soliciting them with delectables leaving little place for actual walking.
The actual bustops ahead are put to minimal use, with potential passengers crowding in other areas and thus lie unused and dirty. Mayhap because they take up considerable space, the Corporation has omitted to build pavements in these areas. As one goes forward, one sees, particularly near areas like the Kalyan Chambers, there exist no actual pavements, but mere wobbly concrete slabs over gutters, intercept with gaping holes in the place of the same. The same measure upto a mere 34.5 inches, when the IRA Standards prescribe a minimum of 1.5 meters.
Even more interesting is the second transformer comfortably roosting smack dab in the middle of the pavement near the Madakkapillil lane entrance. The area therefore lacks a pavement, is dirty and forces a pedestrian to take a detour, prompting a hasty motorist to collide with him or her.
Moving forward, past the opposite side of Sadhanam Working Women’s Hostel, down till Valanjambalam Temple, there are no actual pavements, but mere concrete slabs as mentioned before, this time measuring somewhere between 31 to 31.5 inches. A walk down few more meters leads us before Jose Electricals, where the slabs are a significant 9 inches longer, ending at 40 inches, quite a feat considering the surroundings.
Yet again, nearing the gate of the Temple, one sees yet another transformer, with a hole, 38 inches in width and over 100 inches in length, (so what if our pavements don’t conform to international standards? Something does!) like a moat around an ancient fort. This one takes the cup though. It’s dirtier than its predecessors and contributes to the sanctity of the temple with a tastefully situated and over flowing garbage bin. Thus, even if a modal pedestrian wanted to use the pavement, the stench would force him to walk on the road.
Past Valanjambalam’s first gate and on to its second, the distance between the two has no pavements what so ever and the unofficial bustop nearby causes bus drivers to occasionally flatten a hapless pedestrian against the temple wall railings. Maneuvering through here should rightly be an Olympic feat.
Just a glance at the bridge looming ahead will show you that though there are adequate spaces on either side, the Corporation has chosen not to mar the beauty of the place by building pavements. You see large plots of vacant land on either side, which often doubles as car parks and unofficial bustops. There is also gibberish splattering these areas, from clumps of dirt to piles of garbage.
M. G ROAD
A favorite youth hangout, a commercial area and a shopping hub, M. G Road is Cochin’s equalent of downtown New York. Scattered with shops, bakeries and eateries, it attracts more vehicular and pedestrian movement than perhaps any other area around. In shopping areas such as these, IRA recommends that width should be increased by 1 metre, which is treated as “dead width”. Where there are sidewalks around buildings and fences, the dead width can be taken as 0.5 metres. For areas of heavy pedestrian activity such as bus stops, railway stations and recreational areas, the width of sidewalks should be suitably increased to account for accumulation of pedestrians. A considerable difference from the earlier audit is experienced here. There are actual pavements! Red cobble stoned ones at that. The sad part is the landscaping that the shopkeepers around have chosen to employ. While there is often a clear, distinguishable and mostly unbroken pavement, there are some anomalies to the same.
From Joy Alukkas to Jose Alukkas, the pavements range from somewhere between 4.10 to 5 meters. There are minor interruptions here and there, such as the odd pole or railing or the annoying half built transformer, but at least there is adequate place for pedestrians who both wish to walk and who wish to gawk and window shop. Moving forward, the petrol pump adjacent to the UniverCel showroom has a huge area which allows for easy movements of vehicles and pedestrians but ends with an uphill climb before a huge, gaping, clogged and open outlet. It takes one a while to realize that the complicated system of pipes and taps nestled within, actually happens to be an integral part of the city’s water supply channels, though it does baffle one as to what its doing above ground or why it is not sealed. Thankfully, a slight wall around it saves the absent minded a dunk or a tumble.
Areas around Shenoy’s figure pavements 6 ft in length while Twinkle sports clearly broken ones, the same continuing a trend till K. B Varkey & V. S Builders. Jacobs DD Mall sports deplorable pavements, not because of the lack of space, but the lack of public spirit. These open spaces are used by food venders to set up temporary stalls as the evening arrives. Nearing Lens & Frames, the pavements widen, while the area between Woodlands till the opposite side of My Kingdom have pavements 34 inches long. Certain areas that have footpaths have the same opened and a pile of dirt from within, deposited on the sidewalks. Josco Jwellers are a testament to the landscaping skills of shopkeepers. Here, the public pavements have clearly been encroached by them by making way for a car park for their customers.
The opposite side of M. G Road, sporting shops such as Punjabi Libas is clearly the very same situation, though the width of the pavement is slightly lesser than that on the other side. The entire situation of M. G Road pavements is that it’s slightly more encouraging a scenario than other downtown areas. The pavements are in a relatively better condition, except for an occasional break. Its maintenance however, is attributed more to the shopkeeper’s commercial sense kicking in than the Corporation’s sense of duty. The singularly major complaint that one would register is that the pavements are not of even length and decrease and increase according to the shop it houses. And certain cases see a shopper surreptitiously increase his shop size by encroaching the pavements, but this is not always the case.
Missing sidewalks or gaps, abrupt changes in sidewalk width, obstructions on sidewalks, and frequent, abrupt changes in direction are all seen as signs of a faulty walkway. These standards, most pavements in Cochin, nay Kerala conform to. Reinventing Cochin Team firmly believes that this is one infrastructure that is in dire need of revamping. It is to make a mockery of ourselves to let the Corporation delude us into thinking that pavements are unimportant. We have people campaigning to make pavements and streets disabled-people friendly. When it is hardy safe for an able man to cross, one shudders to think of the plight of our less fortunate brethren. Besides which, we believe a good makeover can contribute towards the scenic beauty of the city making it a more attractive and lucrative place for tourism, industrial activity, and commerce etc.