Prioritizing walking in Dhaka

What if local government improve conditions for walking rather than motorized traffic? What if we could convince politicians to incorporate walking issues into their election manifestoes…and then work with them to implement them? Walking issues onto the election manifesto of the winning mayoral candidate in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The next step is to work with him to implement his commitments.

Md Maruf Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Making walking a priority issue for city election manifesto in Dhaka

What if local government officials worked to improve conditions for walking rather than always focusing on motorized traffic? What if we could convince politicians to incorporate walking issues into their election manifestoes…and then work with them to implement them? This project succeeded in getting walking issues onto the election manifesto of the winning mayoral candidate in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The next step is to work with him to implement his commitments.

Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh; there are approximately 8 million people living in the Dhaka City Corporation area. Although most trips are made on foot, previously walking was the lowest priority in policy, planning and resource allocation.

As a result, walking environment was very poor in Dhaka. We at Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust are working to create safe and convenient environment to walk in Dhaka through research, advocacy, capacity building, networking and awareness. Situation is changing here now. Policy highlighted the importance of walking and improving the condition of infrastructures such as smooth, connected, universally accessible footpaths, zebra crossings, signs, signals, etc. The understanding of necessity of walking friendly environment among law enforcement authorities has also increased.

Before the recent mayoral election we gave input in the election manifesto of Mayor candidates. We prepared recommendations and organized view exchange meeting with mayor candidates. Also Mr. Annisul Huq who is elected mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) invited 40 experts including myself from Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust to the meeting to prepare his election manifesto. Myself and others have submitted recommendation to give priority to improve walking environment in Dhaka.

Mr. Annisul Huq gave priority on walking as a top agenda. After winning the city election as a Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation he received 2 billions taka from the Government to improve walking environment and for cleaning in Dhaka. In future we plan to meet regularly with Mr. Annisul Huq to give suggestions to make safe and convenient environment for walking in Dhaka.

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