Connaught Place, the commercial hub of New Delhi is soon going to become a vehicle-free zone, as all vehicles will be banned from entering the area for three months.
The decision was taken on 5 January 2017 in order to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the area.
• The vehicular ban will apply in the inner and middle circle roads of Connaught Place.
• The area will be turned into a completely pedestrian friendly place.
• The ban will be effective starting from February 2017.
• The decision was approved at a review meeting held to discuss the progress of the smart city project of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area.
• The review meeting headed by the Minister for Urban Development, M Venkaiah Naidu saw in attendance several senior officials of the Ministry, NDMC and the Delhi Police.
• Easing traffic congestion in Connaught Place was one of the main points of discussion in the meeting.
• Another main point of discussion was to make Connaught place a completely congestion-free, accident-free and crime-free zone.
• Apart from the vehicular ban, the NDMC also plans to develop water bodies in the area, which will act as a humidifier.
• Also part of the plan is to hold light and sound shows and organise street festivals in the hub.
According to a spokesperson of the Urban Development Ministry, the three-month trial will test issues related to traffic circulation, experience of shop owners and pedestrians, management of reclaimed parking lots and traffic on the outer circle.
To enable the smooth implementation of the same, NDMC plans to provide ‘park and ride’ services to the visitors from major nearby parking lots like Shivaji Stadium, Palika and Baba Kharak Singh Marg. This facility would also lead to full utilisation of these three locations, as currently the parking lots, which have a total capacity of 3172 vehicles, see only about 1088 cars parked daily.
Besides this, the NDMC also plans to deploy cycle hiring kiosks and battery operated vehicles near the area for the benefit of those parking their vehicles slightly away and also for those using public transport to reach the business district. The deployment of such transport options will also enable senior citizens, women and children to access the area without much hassle.
However, the decision hasn’t gone down well with the traders, who feel that their business will take a hit. They are of the opinion that CP is a commercial centre and not a tourist destination and hence, the moment inner circle will be made vehicle-free it will lead to the chocking of the outer circle.