As zebra crossings fade on Panaji’s roads, citizens are being forced into the blur of danger from the oncoming traffic. The black-and-white stripes help pedestrians and vehicle users negotiate crossings in mutual safety. Records with the office of the North Goa collectorate show that 47 locations in the capital city have been notified as zebra crossings. But several have been slowly losing their visibility and effectiveness.
“The city roads have become a death trap for pedestrians. My heart beats fast each time I cross a road in Panaji,” said Ivan Pinto, a senior citizen who lives in Panaji.
“Faded zebra crossings pose a series of risks to pedestrians and contribute to the city’s traffic woes,” said deputy director of transport Francis Vaz. “Without clear and visible markings, drivers may not notice a crossing until it’s too late, potentially leading to accidents.” He added, “The danger can discourage people from walking on busy streets and contribute to increased vehicle usage.”
Rajas Natu, a student of Class 9 at People’s High School, Panaji, relies pedestrian infrastructure to move around the city. “People often do not stop their vehicles even if they can see me crossing the road. Faded zebra crossings add to the peril,” he said. “Vehicle users must be sensitive to pedestrians. Traffic police can be stationed at certain zebra crossings to maintain pedestrian safety until the stripes are painted again.”
Ranganath, a person with disabilities, makes ends meet by begging on Panaji’s 18th June Road. The afternoon’s busy traffic seldom halts for him as he crawls to the other side of the road. “I do not have the privilege to complain to the government,” he said.
Pedestrians in general are not given respect in Panaji, said Mario Fernandes, a senior citizen who lives in the city. “Jaywalking is very common among tourists. While zebra crossings must be repainted, educating the public on their use is also essential,” he said. “Trained citizens volunteering as traffic wardens can help pedestrians cross busy roads using zebra crossings.” By safeguarding the lives of pedestrians with renewed attention and effort, Panaji can regain its reputation as a city that values the safety and well-being of all its residents and visitors.
Source: The Times of India