A zebra crossing that serves no purpose

As callous drivers zip past, it takes a long wait for pedestrians to cross the road at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital

Vehicles travelling on a 11-km expressway hit the ground here. Vehicles emerging from the bottleneck near Rythu Bazaar make up for the lost time. Motorists from First Lancer area try to navigate a short-cut driving on the wrong side so that they can avoid a 2-km ride. In this frenzy of zipping vehicles patients, medicos, attenders try to cross the road in front of the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital at Masab Tank. Does a new zebra crossing in front of the hospital make life easier for the millions of visitors to the SD Eye Hospital?

“No. More than 70% of the patients and attenders to this hospital cross the road either to get their glasses, get medicines or have a cup of tea. It takes 3-4 minutes to cross the road. Vehicles don’t slow down even after they see the zebra crossing,” says B.S.K. Prasad, a security guard who helps medicos cross the road waving his baton. After his work hours, without the uniform and the baton, he walks till Rythu Bazaar to cross the road to reach his home in Langer Houz area. “I am scared. Three days back a two-wheeler hit a patient’s attender. Small accidents are a regular occurrence,” he says.

A traffic constable posted at the site has a different opinion. “Vehicles slow down when they see people crossing the road at the zebra crossing. Life has become easy for pedestrians after the rumble-strips were laid and zebra-crossing marks were made,” says Das, a traffic constable posted at the site. The main job of the traffic officials is to stop two and three-wheeler vehicles from getting on to the Expressway. “We get a memo if a vehicle gets on to the flyover,” says the traffic official waiting in the shade of the patrol shelter.

Zebra crossings are nothing new on the 35-metre-wide road. They have been marked earlier but disappeared after each road-laying exercise in 2017, 2018 and 2019. “It is ill-designed. There should be a pedestrian light for stopping vehicles. Once you cross the road the footpath should be accessible. It should be disabled friendly,” says Jasmine, an urban design professional.

It was on March 5 at 7.51 a.m. when a social media user posted a bunch of videos to show the plight of pedestrians. By 11.16 a.m., Principal Secretary Urban Administration Arvind Kumar promised to rectify the problem. Within two days the rumble-strips and the zebra-crossing marks appeared. But for the pedestrians and patients of the SD Eye Hospital the nightmare of crossing the road continues.

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