Footpath next to the road, or a wide flat road shoulder, can prevent pedestrian crashes. The safety benefits will be greatest if the footpath is separated from the road (for example, by a drain, a grass verge or a barrier). A rural footpath can be made relatively cheaply by using a road grader to flatten and clear one side, or preferably, both sides of the road. Pedestrian crossings are needed where rural footpaths pass through communities or trading centres (see pedestrian grade separation, pedestrian refuge island, pedestrian crossing – unsignalised, pedestrian crossing – signalised). In urban areas inadequate footpath space, street traders, parked cars or poor footpath surfaces can force pedestrians onto the road. In some areas the existing surface may be widened to improve access. Physical barriers to prevent parking on the footpath can be useful. In central areas, streets can be closed to vehicles for part of the day or permanently. The advantages of footpath are
- Increased safety for pedestrians.
- Improves facilities for pedestrians (improves accessibility).
- May help to increase walking as a mode of transport (environmental benefits and reduced traffic congestion).
- Walking can improve health and fitness.
But in case of Kolkata most of footpaths are occupied by hawkers, in Burrrabazar slow traffic movement, congested footpaths, accident-prone roads, police-politician-hoodlum nexus and administrative apathy have become the bane of Burrabazar. Traffic in the area, including the approach road to Howrah bridge, has been a long-standing problem for people passing through the area. Whole of footpath and even around 30% of Brabourne Road is clogged by hawkers who have permanent shops on both side of roads made of tarpaulins and bamboos reducing the already sparse motarable road in the area.Pedestrians are forced to walk on roads along with vehicles. While lorries, taxis, vans, and three-wheel goods carriers crowd the main roads, slow-moving vehicles like cycle-vans and carts clog the side-streets. It often takes more than half-an-hour to cross the two-km stretch.
Keywords: Importance of footpath, Street venders & hawkers.
 M.Tech (pursuing) Civil Engineering (Transportation Engineering) National Institute of Technology; Silchar, Assam.