Designed as a garden city, the first planned city of Independent India, Chandigarh is setting a bad example for environmental and community safety with it having the highest number of vehicles per capita the 1.2 million people own 8,00,000 vehicles and an estimated 1,00,000 driving through every day.
Increasing vehicular population along with the demand for mobility is encroaching our parks, roads and pedestrians in an unsustainable manner. Higher number of individual vehicles is leading to more laying of asphalt, a major contributor to climate change. While the public transport system is being operated at 5 % efficiency, parks, pedestrians and inner narrow roads have given way to parking spaces for vehicles thus compromising largely with environmental and community safety.
A study by the Chandigarh city traffic police indicates that most people who died in road accidents in Chandigarh over past five years were pedestrians followed by cyclists. 195 pedestrians have lost their lives so far including 28 people in the first 9 months of 2011.
Let’s demand the Chandigarh Administration to do evidence based planning and ensure:
1. To create dedicated, connected, greener and safer cycling lanes and pedestrian lanes to provide incentives for more bicycling and pedestrian users in each sector of Chandigarh
2. To Create “No vehicles zones”; especially in the denser sectors, i.e. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, thus regulate the current vehicular traffic;
3. Regulate the use of horn from the vehicles;
4. Removal of Asphalt from the “no Vehicle zones” and replacement with more greener opportunities in the form of ecological community agro-forestry gardens.
Administrators and Planners for Chandigarh
We are citizens worldwide concerned about health, safety, community and environmental issues.
Chandigarh, in several parts of the world is looked up to as a distinct destination in India for its architecture and a garden city, post independent India.
While Chandigarh has the distinction of being a planned city, its simultaneously heading on a preeminence for the highest number of vehicles, highest number of pedestrian accidents, accidental fatalities, increasing car thefts, absence of creating productive livelihoods for its immigrant population and an ever increasing food access foot-print.
Even though a periodic report on the State of Environment is present, however, the communication on the ever decreasing ambient air quality of the city, the rising temperatures in the city seem to be getting lost because of disincentives for cyclists, increase of slip roads as incentives for more four wheeler drivers and lack of pedestrian spaces for residents as most of the pedestrian spaces are also being occupied for car owners.
Looking at the potential of creating a more climate and community safer-friendlier opportunities through urban retrofitting and incorporating Urban sustainability, we at the civil society level can partake with the administrators in inspiring, training and informing of the advantages for city planning to the Chandigarh citizens.
As citizens, we request you to look in to the lack of safety on roads for children, foot walkers, an increasing societal divide and environmental disincentives on an urgent basis by creating:
1. Create "No Vehicle Zones" in the city;
2. Reduction and removal of Asphalt from densely populated sectors;
3. Regulate the use of horns in the city;
4. Inform the citizens of the already existing community parkings already exist and penalise them on their disuse.
4. Create safe-connected cycle tracks as incentives for bicycling and reducing car use for smaller distances. Use of traffic signals for the currently existing cycle tracks and illuminate them for their use. Penalise any motorists for using the cycle tracks.
5. Ban the use of pedestrian pathways and parks for car parking’s, create pathways in a radius of at least 3-400 metres that are walkable to their local sector markets and the consecutively adjacent sectors for access to the outer circle city roads.
6. Conducting regular inductions and trainings for the citizens on safe driving and the necessary driving speeds while traversing the slip roads and the inner city sector roads.
It is our belief that Chandigarh Administration shall care not only for its citizens and work towards an increasing growth of the city and live up to the mark of it being the first planned city of Independent India.