Experts give green signal to CP pedestrianisation plan

‘Step in the right direction’: Noting that sustainable urban transport is the “mantra” globally, experts said pedestrianisation is a part of it. — Photos: File Photo & Google Maps  

Connaught Place is going to become the Capital’s first vehicle-free zone from next month, and experts feel it is a step in the right direction in order to make the city more liveable and sustainable.

Bhure Lal, the chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), welcomed the step saying it was a good move. He said it would help in improving air quality at Connaught Place if the entire area is made free of vehicles and electric vehicles are deployed to ferry people from parking lots to the central business district of Delhi. “Let us first go on a pilot first and see the results. Then, it may be implemented in other crowded areas also,” he said.

Stating that sustainable urban transport is the “mantra” now globally, Professor P.K. Sarkar, the Head of Department of Transport Planning, School of Planing and Architecture, said pedestrianisation is a part of it.

Pedestrian traffic

“I appreciate the move as Connaught Place is an intensive activity zone dominated by large scale movement of pedestrian traffic, which makes for 80 to 90 per cent of passenger trips,” Prof. Sarkar said.

He said while people on foot outnumber those in cars at Connaught Place, they are the most neglected road users. “You have to compare the numbers when you decide on priority. Pedestrianisation makes a city liveable and sustainable, and provides freedom of movement to pedestrians. It will also ease congestion to a great extent and is going to be a lesson for other cities to follow,” he said.

A larger solution

“This kind of initiative is a step towards to a larger solution. The city certainly requires more pedestrian zones. It has to start the process and then go step by step by identifying such areas and then moving forward,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the head of Centre for Science and Environment’s clean air programme, adding that pedestrianisation of middle and inner circle roads of Connaught Place will help in learning and then deciding on the scope of the programme for replication.

“This is a global trend now, starting from New York to Berlin, Beijing and Singapore. Once you start, it becomes part of a long-term solution. We have to create pedestrian plazas and create a different kind of ambience,” she said.

With Connaught Place witnessing a high footfall, pedestrianisation of the area will help in reducing exposure level of pedestrians at that particular point, she said, adding that this measure is part of overall air pollution control measures.

Equality of public space

“This is a trend that the city should support. We need pedestrian zones well-connected with public transport.”

She added that the move would also improve the quality of life and public space in the city, saying that a reason why the city life is a nightmare with health implications is because we have destroyed walkable public spaces. “This is a beginning, a pilot project which would not immediately bring change in the city but will help in setting a trend and the city have to scale up the process,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 12:51:36 AM |

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