No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!

China pedestrian bridge traffic

stairs to pedestrian bridge

Enjoy your trip

The following is a brilliant and important exchange on a topic that has a rich double meaning that is really worth getting across our idea-resistant noggins (heads, if you will) once and for all. If you believe that the most universal, the most fundamental, certainly the most responsible, even the noblest form of getting round is when we can make our trips safely by foot (or wheelchair if that is what we need to be independently mobile), than you as a responsible politician, administrator, planner or engaged voter, simply would not even for one minute consider engaging in this kind of folly.

So what you have here is an exchange that got started more than five years, and to which Syed Saiful Alam has so well stated in the last posting in this short series, when he stubbornly repeats “No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!”, “No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!”.

Let’s take their postings in chrono order.

# # #


On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 5:22 AM, Sudhir < wrote:

Dear all,

We are searching for % of Budget allocated for pedestrians in our

cities and unfortunately could not find many Asian cities.

Do you know how much % of money authorities are planning  to invest on

pedestrians in your city?


Sudhir Gota,  Transport Specialist,  CAI-Asia Center

Unit 3510, 35th Floor, Robinsons-Equitable Tower, ADB Avenue, Ortigas

Center, Pasig City Metro Manila, Philippines 1605

Tel: +63-2-395-2843  Fax: +63-2-395-2846

Visit our new portal: Skype : sudhirgota



mexico pedestrian bridge

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:33 AM, Ian Perry < wrote:


I have managed to find some information from the UK – though more a split of how money is spent on pedestrians/road safety than for the entire budget.  I hope this is interesting, if not useful.

In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Local Road Safety Grant (2008/09) of  313,000 to the Vale of Glamorgan council was budgeted as follows:

  • 98,500 to provide revenue for Road Safety Education Training and Publicity.
  • 210,000 will be used for Road Safety Engineering Projects
  • 4,500 as a contingency fund.

From the  210,000 budget, the change of a zebra crossing to a puffin crossing in Cowbridge, cost  45,000 ( 30,000 for the crossing plus an additional  15,000 because they moved the crossing 20 metres down the road to improve traffic flows).,_agendas__reports/reports/cabinet/2007/07-05-09/road_safety.aspx

  • “some” of the budget went on consultants and employee salaries.

In Bridport in Dorset (UK), 2 years ago a Puffin crossing cost  26,000 to install, at the same time a four way lights controlled junction was upgraded from Pelicans to Puffins costing  85,000.  Last year the removal of a Zebra crossing, resurfacing and installation of a Pelican crossing with pedestrian ‘refuge’ (caged) island cost  100,000.

For more information as to what traffic and pedestrian measures cost in the UK, see Appendix A of:

  • Shared space costs 75,000+
  • Zebra pedestrian crossing 15-25,000
  • Pedestrian refuge  island  10,000+

Infrastructure is expensive business!

Ian Perry

# # #



pakistan Karachi ladies crossing traffic footbridge

—-Original Message—–
On Behalf Of Syed Saiful Alam
Sent: Saturday, 19 December, 2015 8:44 AM
To: Ian Perry < ; Sudhir <
Cc: Global ‘South’ Sustainable Transport <
Subject: [sustran] Re: Pedestrian Budget

No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!

No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!

The World Bank, under its Clean Air Project, is building many footover (pedestrian) bridges in Dhaka.

This is wrong on at least two counts.

The point of footover bridges is to facilitate the movement of cars, which pollute. Meanwhile, they hinder the movement of pedestrians, who do not.

Efforts to improve air quality should focus on improving the situation of non-motorized transport, including walking. It does not make sense to penalize pedestrians in the name of clean air. In fact, street-level crossings (zebra crossings or crosswalks) would help to smooth car traffic; as it is, cars rush to the next stoplight, only to sit and wait. Most cities around the world have stopped building footover bridges and torn down existing ones, as they are extremely unpopular with pedestrians, do not reduce accidents, and do nothing to smooth traffic flow.

Second, it is the World Bank’s policy that all new transport projects must incorporate Universally Accessible Design. There is no way that a person in a wheelchair, or most people with a disability, or even someone with a fairly minor problem walking, can use a footover bridge. A bridge equipped with an escalator is still unusable by a person in a wheelchair. It is obviously completely impractical to create bridges with lifts (elevators) throughout the city. Nor is there any reason to do something so wasteful and likely to land up broken and thus useless within a short period.

Zebra crossings make street crossings easier for all users, and thus contribute to independent movement by all, as well as contributing to clean air.

Syed Saiful Alam  +8801552442814

pedestrian bridge wheel chair blocked

# # #

Editor’s note: 

Can you believe that after several decades of international proof to the contrary that this thought still lingers in the heads of decision makers in our cities?

There was a time when these grafted bits or road-related infrastructure seemed to make sense. Maybe. A mark of that time was the implicit assumption that “traffic” meant  cars and that it made perfect sense to give them priority over pedestrians, cyclists and anybody else who might wish to cross a busy road. That time has now long passed.

And if there may occasionally be arguments for some kind of crossing facility in outlying rural areas, it has long been understood by the leading edge of the transport and city planning profession that these structures have no place in towns or cities. In the 21st century the concept of giving total priority to motorized traffic is an anomaly, and given the techniques and equipment now available in order to ensure the safe passage of not only pedestrians and cyclists but also the handicapped and others suffering from mobility or sensory limitations, it should be a clear priority that no further such facilities should be built anywhere in Penang.

They are costly, unfair, visually intrusive, inefficient and ultimately dangerous. They are strident signs of reactionary, out of touch public policy. They are not worthy of the citizens of a democratic country. Moreover, all existing facilities need to be carefully analyzed and replaced with more effective than more democratic means of access for all.

About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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3 thoughts on “No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!

  1. Another thing. Converting zebras to light controlled crossings is not money spent for pedestrians, it’s money spent against pedestrians. Pedestrians have right of way on zebras 100% of the time, on LCCs they’re lucky if it’s 10%, and they usually have to wait for that. Many LCCs are useless in the sense that almost all of the time a gap appears in the traffic before the light turns green for pedestrians. By default all pedestrian crossings should be zebras except where either they are at intersections or the volume of pedestrians is so great that if they had absolute priority traffic on the road couldn’t move at all.

    And when we do have crossings at intersections pedestrians should normally have right of way over turning traffic. I think this is the case in most civilised countries, and also in the US, but it is not in the UK. Pedestrians often have to stare at a red light whose only purpose is to protect them against traffic making a rarely used turn — why not instead give them priority over such traffic ?

  2. There are several in-place examples in Washington State USA and British Columbia Canada of pedestrian bridges over long-established 100 km/hour motorways that otherwise split apart walkable zones and corridors. New pedestrian crossing are in development, such as one that would connect two sections of the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA divided by the State Route 520 high-speed motorway. Going further, there is now talk of covering up Interstate 5 in central Seattle with a pedestrian-friendly lid, pictured and described at
    Seems to me that absent any possibility of removing well-used high-speed motorways that carry trucks and buses as well as SUVs, that pedestrian bridges over such corridors make sense, and set a threshhold for consideration of foot-over bridges.

  3. Pingback: America Already Has a Stratified Transportation System |

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