Radar | Jun 26,2021
Last year was pivotal in bringing the final touch to my new year's resolution for the then-upcoming global year, a week sooner than the end of December. I changed almost all my money transactions digitally, apart from very few necessities.
It reminded me of the tiresome days when we had to take a taxi to transfer or withdraw money from the bank, with all the paper works and the need for photocopies.
I transitioned digital at a bank branch just a hoot and holler away from my house, which opened a few weeks earlier.
If not for an urgent situation, I used to go to a branch twenty minutes away, an excellent reason to append the same with a long walk. It was accompanied by the biweekly visit to a farther thirty-minute walk to a supermarket, which I have been a customer of for the last three decades.
What makes the timetable clocklike is that I have to leave my house as nightfall approaches and no later than 5:30 PM to arrive at the bank branch 10 minutes before its closure. That has been strictly followed for at least three to four years, thick or thin, amidst the pandemic self-restraint at home and the bone-rattling cold and windy days of the recent weeks here in Addis.
Following a byway stuck to the roadside, wedged a small, old bookshop notorious for catching my wallet off-guard, preempting unplanned purchases of books, cutting short my supermarket visit twice a week for the insufficiency of money for necessities. Next is the once-in-a-requisite week visit to the "Gullit" sited close by, with its mouth-watering "Sumaro Gomen", a variant of Ethiopian collard green, with its always family-like, smiling, and welcoming roadside retailers.
I started to get worried Instantly, clouding the enthusiasm that had been prevailing. One pillar of my weekly routine is gone, with almost no reason to go to the bank. Moreover, a new supermarket has just moved into the neighbourhood. A neighbour I introduced to "Sumaro" is happy to pick up my weekly need from the market, as his office is nearby. As for the old bookstore, I can pass by when I go out to the movies. This all summed up that my usual walking route is not unavoidable.
However, I immediately started to ponder on the things I would miss. The passers-by smiling and talking, hand-hold-unfriendly conspicuous wide screen mobile brandishing boys and girls, the raw meat eateries, the abounding shop's householders busy with shopping and almost branches of all banks with their all-time active ATMs, all with imposing and drawing lively waves on the ambiance, and faces I am very familiar with.
It was followed by the bizarrely slow-moving road traffic, whose congestion unhindered pedestrians to bustle on its lane, started to stroll in my mind along its dusty and muddy walkway.
Here comes the question about the disfigured pedestrians' walkway on a road that was presumed completed over a decade ago. I wish I could see what its file asserts as the road project's closure or the possible explanation if it is not done. Maybe it is lost in management change or inadvertently reported that it is set and done.
Could it have taken this long had it been the walkway rather than the road that had been completed?
This is a question I always have in my mind. I sometimes make a sweeping remark that an independent authority aside from the city's road authority, which is solely concerned with pedestrians and their city's "artery" walkway, makes a difference that guarantees mobility.
I sometimes wonder why I have been keeping a weather eye and waiting with bated breath for many years, simply skipping the road through crossing on the alleyway just a few blocks behind the still-outstanding street. No way has the alternative alleyway leashed life as much as the preceding, and neither is safe for a walk.
Roads need to guarantee the right to mobility for all. Ideally, mobile banking service providers aim for less or no mobility for the sake of banking services. As businesses sprout at the doorstep, people have no incentive to mobility. Only smart banking services are guaranteed the win in the competition, among other things.
It is up to local administrations to set the level playing field to lure people into having the urge to seek services from businesses in their locality, as their performance evaluation needs to hang on generating income from taxes pivoted with the business and safe environment they cater.
I hope my digital step forward with the move to mobile banking provides more time to read, frequent walking, and go to the movies. What a step forward for a new year and the same will be heeded by our local administration. Walkways are pathways to big money; if we compare the commission due from the concerned, the return is baffling and not worth comparing.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 14,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1185]
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