Narrow roads and parked vehicles: Barriers to #MyAccess
The final day was on the 5th of December, with 20 Participants from Kamala Mehta school for the Blind in Dadar East and 25 from St. Xavier’s college. The Orientation included a meet and greet session as well as an activity on what made them feel safe, unsafe and what precautions they took.
The participants, like the previous days, were partnered up and divided into two groups going different routes. One route led to Dadar station via Dadasaheb Phalke Marg, whereas the other covered the by-lanes of the other side of the Babasaheb Ambedkar Marg.
Several issues of accessibility came up such as the need for Audio signals while crossing the road, uneven roads and footpaths, parked vehicles blocking routes and crowding already narrow roads and sudden steps and potholes. In terms of safety many felt that there wasn’t enough streetlights, a point also raised by low vision participants, and sometimes trees blocked out streetlights making roads darker.
Since that area of Dadar is very crowded, many spoke about feeling unsafe in the crowd but also how people were not concerned and would bump into the non sighted participants. Many stressed the need for civil sense and etiquette amongst the public.
Dadasaheb Phalke Marg
This audit was taken after sunset, and on a road near a major train station. The roads were found to be too narrow and full of potholes. However even though there mostly was a footpath, most of the people used the road to walk. This was due to the fact that the footpath was not good, it was too narrow with many obstacles such as vendors, parked cars and lots of crowd. The road was occupied by not only more crowd, but also rash drivers and loud honking cars. The route also needed more light.
Babasaheb Ambedkar Marg
The participants on this route noted broken and uneven footpaths on this route. The roads, especially in the inner lanes, were uneven. There was insufficient lighting from the street lamps, mostly due to the fact that trees blocked out most of the light. The obstacles on this route included, vendors, heavy crowds, stray animals and garbage. The large number of people accessing the same footpath was very difficult, especially since some participants called the crowds “insensitive” as they often shoved and elbowed participants out of the way.
Crossing the roads was noted as a serious problem, not only for the lack of accessible traffic signals for the blind, but also the less amount of time given to cross the road.