Pedestrian or foot bridges are bridges built for individuals to walk on. It is usually built across high ways, rivers and railway. A pedestrian bridge, also called a footbridge, is simply a bridge, whether over land or water, that is designed for foot traffic. Often, footbridges are constructed to give pedestrians a safe way to cross from one side of a busy road to the other. There are also pedestrian bridges built over railroad tracks, rivers, parking lots, canyons and other areas where walking could be perilous or even impossible. Most pedestrian bridges are built with timber, steel and concrete. It also has guard rails accompanied with it, some have a roof while other are open ended. The original purpose of the bridges is to reduce the high rate of accidents on high way as pedestrian some pedestals have fallen victims of accident as they attempted to cross major high ways.
As commuters abandon FCT pedestrian bridges
In Abuja, its unfortunate that most people do not use these bridges due to fear of being robbed or out of negligence, also some say the bridges are stressful to climb and that by the time you are descending from them it appears like you have lost a pound of flesh. The FCT is a city of big, long wide roads spreading out within the expense of land so for most Abuja residents crossing through the express road posses a lot of threat to their lives. Particularly the Lugbe-airport axes, a lot of persons have been run over by careless drivers in as bid to cross the road, most of this victims were of the opinion that the cars were far away and they would be able to make it to the other side before the vehicle gets to them but unfortunately got knocked down, due to speed but we would not place all the blame on the drivers because it is a express road that would generally warrant that you drive on high speed. Having a chat with some pedestrians along Wuse District, most pedestrians prefer crossing the major roads because according to them it is faster than climbing a bridge to cross over to the other side.
Another argument raised is that the pedestrian bridges have lost their usefulness. A good example is that of Gwarimpa. Though it’s one of the most used bridges in Abuja. It is also a commercial sector. Instead of getting shops most traders prefer trading on the bridge as they say it’s easier to make profit were ‘there is crowd’ than getting a shop were you pay for and you’re not sure of making profit. Speaking with a resident by name Nonso, he said, “some people don’t use the pedestral bridges maybe because they are scared of falling. But the use of the high way is way more dangerous. I have used a pedestrian bridge and there was nothing out of the ordinary about it. But people complain that they get mugged on it. But one major reason people don’t use it is because of impatience.” According to Princewill, ‘‘I don’t use the pedestrian bridge because of the distance. Some times while getting to your destination with a taxi, you might not be dropped close to the bridge because of the spot you called. You just have to cross on your own. Even if you don’t like crossing, you just be forced to learn.”
Osinachi believes security is a major reason for the dying use of pedestrian bridge. “There are many pick pockets on the bridge especially when there is crowd towards the evening. You know some of these bridges are also markets and lodges. People sleep there, those who can’t pay for a normal apartment. We don’t know who is who. It becomes worst by 8-9pm in the night especially if you are alone. I won’t even advice a lady to follow that route. When you think about what might happen it’s just better for cross the high way.” Despite the challenges and disadvantages that associated with the use of pedestrian bridges, we cannot rule out the fact that the bridges were built for use and road safety purpose, they do not just beautify the state, they are there for our safety. It is up to the residents of the FCT to choose whether saving time is more important than saving lives, yourself and securing your future. All in all pedestrians are advised that where there are pedestrian bridges they should endeavour to use them.
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