BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will soon kickstart work on constructing 23 skywalks at various locations in the city.
On Sunday, it floated tenders for construction on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. As per tender documents, three of them will be ‘integrated skywalks’ connecting more than two points at a junction.
While existing skywalks across the city are grossly underused, the BBMP is rushing into more such projects at several locations. While these are ostensibly pedestrian-friendly measures, urban planners are wondering if any feasibility studies were done before going ahead with the plan. Pedestrians are loath to use skywalks because of the climbing up and down involved and would rather risk life and limb and brave onrushing vehicles to cross roads. While these skywalks will no doubt generate some ad revenue, their primary purpose is to assist pedestrians. And if that’s not served, they shouldn’t be there in the first place.
According to BBMP officials, each skywalk will be built at a cost ranging from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore. In addition to these 23 skywalks, 29 more skywalks have been proposed, tenders for which will also be called soon.
“We plan to construct 52 skywalks across Bengaluru. While work on 23 skywalks is expected to begin in a month’s time, tenders for 29 others may be called after the end of the model code of conduct for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” said MV Srinivas, executive engineer, road infrastructure – special division, BBMP.
Urban experts pointed out that with several existing skywalks being unutilised or underutilised, construction of more skywalks without carrying out a feasibility study may not yield the best results.
“There are several skywalks, including the one on Residency Road and one near Sophia School on Palace Road, which are hardly used. There has to be a compelling reason for constructing more skywalks. The BBMP must carry out a study on existing skywalks, their usage and pedestrian traffic at these locations which can be used as a guide for future projects,” said urban expert V Ravichandar.