DELHI: Delhi’s premier shopping and central business district Connaught Place (CP) will soon become a car free zone starting this February. For now though, the move will last for three months as it is a pilot to see the efficacy of the idea.
At a meeting chaired by M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of Urban Development and attended by officials from the Urban Development Ministry, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Police, it was decided that the middle and inner circular roads of CP will be vehicle-free from February for the next three months on a pilot basis.
“It was decided that pedestrianisation of Connaught Place on a pilot basis would be implemented for three months from February for ground level testing of issues related to changes in traffic circulation, experience of pedestrians and shop owners, management of reclaimed parking lots, traffic load on outer circle etc,” an official release said.
The officials added that there could ve park and ride services from major parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika parking to promote ‘pedestrianisation’. These three locations have 3,172 parking spots. On average, only 1,088 vehicles are being parked here at present. Also, there are plans to operate battery-operated vehicles to take people to the business district.
Earlier in October 2016, NDMC had said that it may allow e-rickshaws in Connaught Place under a last mile connectivity initiative to make it a car-free zone. “We are planning to connect Metro stations, railway stations, government offices, commercial areas and other hubs in NDMC areas through battery-operated vehicles,” NDMC official had said.
The NDMC had earlier thought of introducing pick-and-drop services from the Shivaji Stadium parking lot for traders based in Connaught Place to create more parking space for visitors. But trade associations had objected to the move.
Not only commercial and government offices, the civic body wishes to include even residential colonies in the last mile connectivity plan. Thus a person living in Gole Market can take an e-rickshaw to Rajiv Chowk station and then the Metro to Khan Market. “This also cuts down peoples’ dependence on cars and brings down pollution in the city,” the official said.
Musafir Namah Bureau