‘Project should not cause inconvenience to public’

pune civic body has identified 38 areas to be spruced up; activists say not convinced

Civic activists have welcomed the decision of the civic body to carry out beautification work of road dividers and traffic islands in the city with private participation, but have also cautioned it to ensure that the project does not cause inconvenience to public.

"The PMC has identified 38 areas for the beautification work. While the decision is laudable, previous experiences have shown that such beautification plans had failed to deliver expected results and had even caused inconvenience to citizens," said Prashant Inamdar, convenor of Pedestrians First, in a letter to Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak.

Inamdar said functionality rather than aesthetics should be the prime governing factor in any beautification plan. "For instance, for footpath tiles, good anti-skid properties should be kept in mind and this should never be compromised for the sake of aesthetics as had happened in the case of F C Road and J M Road footpaths," he said. Materials used should be durable, he said.

Another activist Jugal Rathi said any new material should first be tried on a small patch and its performance should be observed over a period of time. People should also be invited to check and give feedback, he said.

Inamdar said plantation on road dividers should not cause hindrance to vehicle movement or obstruct cross-view of traffic at junctions. "Similarly, view of oncoming traffic should not get blocked for pedestrians at intermediate road crossings."

Rathi said the design should include proper and adequate size path for pedestrians to cross the road safely. Height of the island/channeliser shall not exceed 150 mm. The profile should be designed for smooth and safe traffic flow, he said.

Activists said beautification plan for any area should be publicised. "Information should be given to the public in a citizen-friendly format and people should be asked to give their views. There should be interactions with citizen groups working in the field and final decision should be taken on the basis of feedback received," they said.

Inamdar said maintenance and repair were important to keep the facility usable and safe. "For example trimming of bushes/tree branches, periodic painting of dividers/channelisers, replacement of damaged tiles, reinstatement of dislocated divider stones/bollards, repairs of light fixtures, etc."

"No ad hoc decision should be taken that would cause inconvenience to citizens," the activists said.

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