For a pedestrian-friendly environment to be established, conscious efforts should be made to introduce policies and guidelines in our planning laws to entrench this as a way of life. The following are guidelines to help in achieving this objective.
• As a rule, every street or road should clearly demarcate a path for pedestrians, separate from the path for motorists.
• A template to have a raised pavement of at least 1200mm in width to serve as a sidewalk must be put in place for every new road.
• In densely populated areas with heavy human traffic, such areas could be designated as pedestrians- only street, with shuttle services to move pedestrians as the need arises.
• Adequate crosswalks at convenient intervals should be provided for pedestrians to cross from one side of the road to the other, preferably at traffic junctions.
• Where necessary, footbridges should be provided, particularly along very busy highways.
• School, church, mosque and market zones should be clearly identified, and adequately sized walkways should be provided to cater for the students, worshippers and shoppers.
• All sidewalks should be regularly maintained to avoid accidents that may occur as a result of bad surfaces.
• At signal junctions, priority must be given to the pedestrian crossings, and dedicated signals for pedestrians should be made available and fitted with cameras to detect wrongdoings.
• Our high streets should be redesigned to have very wide walkways fronting the activity areas and shop fronts.
• No cars or vehicles should be allowed on the sidewalks, while special parking lots should be provided in a way that will not impede the movement of pedestrians.
• Where streets are narrow, vehicles should be allowed to park only on one side of the road, whilst the opposite side is left for pedestrians. This should however be alternated periodically.
• Parking of vehicles on sidewalks should be declared illegal and made a bookable offence.
• Appropriate ramps at road junctions should be constructed on the sidewalks for pedestrians on one form of wheel or the other but should be done in a way to enable them navigate through.
• All sidewalks should be free of impediments or obstructions such as electric poles, signage poles etc.
• There should be public enlightenment and advocacy on the need for a pedestrian-friendly environment.
• Drivers should be educated on the need to give pedestrians the right of way once they step on the crosswalk.
*Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.