Pune, traditionally known as the “city of cyclists,” and having built over 100 kilometers of cycle tracks, presently suffers from poor state of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. A recent CAI-Asia report in 2011 states, “residential, educational areas and public transport terminals lack proper footpaths and other facilities that leaves pedestrians competing with vehicles for space, making it a one sided contest in Pune.”
To address these concerns, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) jointly organized a two-day Street Design Workshop on September 6 and 7, 2012.
The workshop consisted of a discussion of road safety principles for all users and a hands-on-exercise for 49 members of the technical staff from PMC. The workshop was led by street design expert Michael King, Principal at Nelson Nygaard, who outlined a three-pronged strategy for designing pedestrian-friendly streets: first, observation of physical conditions and street user behavior; second, iterative testing of design solutions; and third, setting a direction for policies that are supportive of non-motorized transport.
Throughout the workshop, King emphasized the importance of streets in urban fabric saying, “The most progressive cities of the world are the most walkables ones. The city should make streets for people and not highways for traffic.”
A walking audit of the network of streets connecting Pune Railway Station, Sadhu Vaswani chowk, Sassoon Hospital, and Council hall in Pune was conducted by the participants which comprised of executive engineers, deputy engineers, and junior engineers among others to assess the on-ground state of current pedestrian infrastructure, observe road user movement and capture the safety issues concerning people walking on the street. Participants were divided into five teams and sent to the selected site to observe pedestrian infrastructure, cycling facilities, public transport uses, land use changes and motor vehicle movement among others. The site was selected because of the heavy pedestrian movement in large numbers between the bus terminal, railway station and neighboring commercial and institutional land uses all throughout the day.
Participants reacted to the conditions of the site saying, “There is a good chunk of cyclists on the road, and sadly for them there is no provision in the existing design. Also, there are too many obstructions on the walkway forcing pedestrians to walk on middle of road risking their lives”.
Later on, the teams were assigned the task of redesigning Alankar Talkies Chowk (located adjoining to the Pune Railway Station) based on the theme of pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicle users, public transport users and public place. Each team visited the site at morning & evening peak hour to conduct traffic counts, observe the user behavior and traffic movement patterns. After the exercise, the team gave a group presentation on their “observation of the site” and “solution for the site” based on the designated theme.
Nitin Warrier, Senior Associate, ITDP India said, “The idea was to enhance participants understanding of road user behavior and to encourage participatory and inclusive planning of streets based on its usages by different road users. The learning from the workshop will help PMC in designing better streets for pedestrians, cyclists and enhancing the walking connectivity to nearest public transport facilities”
A similar one-day long workshop was conducted with 46 of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s engineering staff on street design taking Chafekar Chowk, located in the heart of Pimpri -Chinchwad as the site for intersection design exercise.
ITDP India team comprising of Anuj Malhotra, Nitin Warrier, Pranjali Deshpande, Kumar Manish and Pratik Dave facilitated the team discussions and site visits in both the workshops.