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Students demand to ensure zebra crossing in front of the school

We are constantly at risk of crossing the road due to reckless driving. Regular walking to school is an important step to protect health and environment. And there is no alternative of zebra crossing to ensure safe and comfortable road crossing. We demand an effective zebra crossing in front of the school. Students of South Point School and College raised their demand on 12 January 2022 at 11.00 am in an awareness campaign jointly organized by South Point School and College, Malibag Branch, AstraZeneca's Young Health Program, Nagorik Odhikar Shongrokkhon Forum, Pallima Sangsad and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust in front of South Point School and College.

The speakers of the program were Ziaur Rahman, Senior Project Manager of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and Md. Solaiman Kabir, Coordinator of South Point School and College. Others present in the program were Naima Akter, Project Manager, Proma Saha, Project officer of WBB Trust, and teachers and students of South Point School and College.

Students in the human chain raised their various problems while walking, such as- reckless driving, illegal parking on sidewalks and free movement of motorbikes, water logging, garbage, lack of proper enforcement of traffic laws, eve-teasing, smoking in open spaces etc. Students said, our school buildings are located on both sides of the road. We have to cross the road every day with risk because of the vehicle speed. There is a zebra crossing in front of the school, but it’snot effective. The color of the zebra crossing has faded due to lack of maintenance. The zebra crossing in front of the school needs to be repainted and made effective to ensure safe road crossing.

Speakers said that it is possible to meet the needs of daily physical activities through walking. Due to lack of adequate parks and playgrounds in Dhaka, children and teenagers are deprived of playing opportunities. Walking to school can play an important role in the wellbeing of physical and mental health. Due to lack of safe environment, many students are discouraged to walking. And those who travel on foot are being forced to travel at risk.

The speakers further said that the walking environment in Khilgaon area has been observed and in many place we found out that sidewalks are broken, drains are opened and there are large potholes, which could lead to dangerous accidents to all pedestrians including students. There are obstacles like- illegal parking, construction rubbles, goods of roadside shops, and garbage on the sidewalks. Although the "National Integrated Multimodal Transport Policy, 2013" and the“Dhaka Strategic Transport Plan (STP)” have clearly stated to ensure "Pedestrian Priority", we do not observe its implementation. We demand for immediate implementation of the relevant transport plansand policies with the priority of pedestrians.