A paradigm shift in the way the Capital commutes is on the cards.
Aiming to help the aam aadmi – the pedestrian -- reclaim streets and open spaces, the Aam Aadmi Party-led State government announced steps to free Delhi’s roads and sync it with international standards.
Connectivity at half-a-mile instead of the last mile, comfortable Metro journeys, and even a web-based app that guarantees pothole repair work within six hours will be part of a redesigning spree which aims to improve more than 1,200 km of road space.
At an interaction with the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satyendra Jain, said on Saturday, that ten prominent Delhi stretches were now part of a pilot project which, at a cost of around Rs 5,000 crore, seeks to ensure that pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users get preference, in that order, over car users who comprise little over 1 per cent of the total road users in the Capital. “The roads of the Capital are as wide as those in any other city, if not more, in any part of the world – but they are also the most notorious in terms of the number of lives which they claim on an annual basis; a figure that is upwards of 1700 per year,” Mr. Jain said.
“Now, the need of the hour is to reclaim the Capital's stretches and our priorities are clear; the roads need to belong to pedestrians, cyclists, non-motorised vehicles, public transport and then, if there is any more space left, for car users,” the Minister further said adding that the results of the pilot project would culminate in similar, engineering-based redesigning projects across the Capital.
On his part, Mr. Kejriwal said he had directed the chief of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Mangu Singh to ensure more comfort for commuters on his trains.
“More coaches need to be added and the frequency, I told Mr. Singh when he called on me yesterday, needs to be enhanced. Commuters are complaining of congestion on trains as a major factor that puts them off using the Metro,” he said adding that the Delhi government had offered to compensate the DMRC for any losses it would incur in the process of adding coaches and increasing frequency irrespective of the time of day across the Capital's metro network.
During the 15-year Sheila Dikshit-led Congress party rule in Delhi, the thrust was to provide a smoother ride to motorists by adding flyovers, underpasses, and signal-free roads.