Is Walkability a Universal Human Right?

An Indian newspaper has started a campaign aimed at making Chennai more accommodating to pedestrians. The issue is particularly acute in the global South, as growing auto ownership threatens the safety of those yet to climb the economic ladder.
July 9, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"To call attention to the appalling situation faced by pedestrians in the city of Chennai, the newspaper The Hindu has launched a campaign called “Right to Walk,” which aims to 'reclaim our city’s footpaths' and 'goad local officials to act,'" reports Sarah Goodyear.

"As The Hindu points out, the right to walk — to move freely through the territory of India — is guaranteed by the nation’s constitution, but the government consistently prioritizes cars in planning and enforcement."

"Cities like Chennai are facing an important turning point: Will they continue to let citizens' right to walk erode? Or will they demand better conditions?" asks Goodyear.

"A lot of the space that should go to the millions on foot is taken over by an army of fast and furiously honking cars and motorcycles," writes The Hindu. "Walking as a right has to be asserted with a voice that is loud and clear."

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Published on Monday, July 8, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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