Plans afoot to make it eas­ier to walk in Delhi

WALK­A­BIL­ITY PROJECT 19 stretches iden­ti­fied for re­vamp of pedes­trian in­fra­struc­ture

Hindustan Times (Noida) - - FRONT PAGE - Sweta Goswami [email protected]­dus­tan­ n

NEW DELHI: Mul­ti­ple agen­cies in the na­tional cap­i­tal have come to­gether for the first time to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive “walk­a­bil­ity plan” that will start with re­mod­elling 19 key lo­ca­tions to make the city safer and more ac­ces­si­ble for pedestrians.

Ac­cord­ing to se­nior of­fi­cials and gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments ac­cessed by Hin­dus­tan Times, the changes in­clude re­designed pedes­trian cross­ings, open ca­bles moved un­der­ground, street fur­ni­ture, trees planted to pro­vide shade, pel­i­can lights, and gaps fixed in ex­ist­ing foot­paths along with the con­struc­tion of new ones.

Some ar­eas will also be des­ig­nated as non-mo­torised trans­port (NMT) lanes on the lines of the Chandni Chowk re­de­vel­op­ment project.

Delhi’s first “guide­lines for walk­a­bil­ity” are be­ing pre­pared by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Ur­ban Af­fairs (NIUA) and will be ready “soon”, ac­cord­ing to Delhi De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (DDA) vice chair­man Tarun Kapoor. The DDA is the main land-own­ing agency in the Cap­i­tal and has pow­ers to is­sue poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions re­lated to ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and mo­bil­ity.

The other agen­cies in­volved in the plan are the three mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions (MCDS), the New Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (NDMC), the Delhi gov­ern­ment’s Pub­lic Works Depart­ment (PWD) and trans­port depart­ment, the Delhi Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion (DMRC) and the Uni­fied Traf­fic Trans­porta­tion In­fra­struc­ture (Plan­ning and En­gi­neer­ing) Cen­tre (UTTIPEC), and the Delhi traf­fic po­lice, mak­ing it the most com­pre­hen­sive project to pro­mote walk­ing in the city.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2015 study by the Delhi Traf­fic po­lice, out of the 1,582 fa­tal ac­ci­dents in which 1,622 peo­ple were killed, the num­ber of pedes­trian fa­tal­i­ties was 684.

The 19 ar­eas se­lected to kick­start the project are ITO, North and South cam­puses of Delhi Uni­ver­sity, Ut­tam Na­gar cross­ing, the three in­ter-state bus ter­mi­nals, INA, Hauz KHAZ-IIT, Ad­h­chini on Aurobindo Marg, Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama Place, Karol Bagh, the Saket­malviya Na­gar stretch, La­j­pat Na­gar, Laxmi Na­gar, Dwarka Sec­tor 21, and the Old Delhi and New Delhi rail­way sta­tions.

“An im­me­di­ate solution was needed to bet­ter the ex­pe­ri­ence of pedestrians in the city.

Ac­cord­ingly, DDA took a meet­ing of all agen­cies last De­cem­ber 20 and it was de­cided that ‘walk­a­bil­ity plans’ will be cre­ated and ex­e­cuted in 17 ar­eas as a pi­lot project,” Kapoor said.

A UTTIPEC of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, said the agency has been asked to pre­pare the “walk­a­bil­ity plans” and that one of the first ar­eas of fo­cus is en­sur­ing all foot­paths are six inches above the road level with ramps for easy ac­cess for the dif­fer­ently abled.

While UTTIPEC will ap­point con­sul­tants for the project, the plans will be ex­e­cuted by the road-own­ing agen­cies of the re­spec­tive ar­eas, the of­fi­cial added.

A sec­ond DDA of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity that Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice asked Delhi to pre­pare a plan sim­i­lar to one im­ple­mented by Chen­nai.

Shreya Gade­palli, ur­ban mo­bil­ity ex­pert and South Asia Pro­gramme Lead at the In­sti­tute for Trans­porta­tion and De­vel­op­ment Pol­icy (ITDP), which col­lab­o­rated with the Greater Chen­nai Cor­po­ra­tion over the last eight years, high­lighted that Chen­nai be­came the first city in In­dia to adopt an NMT pol­icy in 2014.

“The pol­icy calls for 60% of Chen­nai’s trans­port bud­get for im­ple­ment­ing the NMT pol­icy. Chen­nai has al­ready re­de­vel­oped about 100 km of walk­a­ble streets and is re­design­ing 400 ad­di­tional streets. On small lo­cal streets, the city is set to place var­i­ous traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures. Other key ini­tia­tives like ef­fec­tive park­ing man­age­ment are be­ing im­ple­mented,” she said.

The Chen­nai model is be­ing im­ple­mented in 10 other cities of Tamil Nadu, in­clud­ing Coim­bat­ore and Madu­rai.

Ex­perts said the move is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause Delhi’s agen­cies were work­ing in si­los un­til now, re­sult­ing in the city not be­ing able get a a uni­fied “walk­a­bil­ity pol­icy”.

“A ded­i­cated pol­icy on walk­a­bil­ity has been a long-pend­ing de­mand as gov­ern­ments have only been fo­cus­ing on build­ing road space to fa­cil­i­tate faster move­ment of ve­hi­cles. Un­der the plan, agen­cies should start with en­sur­ing all foot­paths are con­tin­u­ous in Delhi,” said K Ravin­der, prin­ci­pal sci­en­tist, trans­porta­tion plan­ning di­vi­sion, Csir-cen­tral Road Re­search In­sti­tute (CRRI).

“Also, since most peo­ple pre­fer on-street walk­ing op­tions, all traf­fic sig­nals should com­pul­so­rily have work­ing sig­nals for those on foot, which would re­quire chang­ing the sig­nal cy­cles.”

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