Come February and Connaught Place in New Delhi will become a vehicle-free zone for three months.
In a bid to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the heart of the capital, the inner and middle circle roads of Connaught Place will be pedestrianised on a pilot basis.
The plan was finalised at a review meeting on the progress of the smart city project of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area, which was chaired by Minister for Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday.
Easing congestion in Connaught Place was discussed in detail at the meeting attended by senior officials of the Ministry, NDMC and the Delhi Police.
“Issues related to changes in traffic circulation, experience of pedestrians and shop owners, management of reclaimed parking lots and traffic load on the outer circle will be tested,” an Urban Development Ministry spokesperson said.
For the convenience of visitors to Connaught Place, the NDMC plans to provide ‘park and ride’ services from major nearby parking lots such as Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika Parking.
The total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 vehicles but on an average, only 1,088 cars are parked daily. This underutilized capacity could be fully used by promoting the ‘park and ride’ concept, the NDMC believes.
“Cycle hiring, battery operated vehicles etc., would be deployed effectively for the benefit of those parking vehicles at specified slots to reach the business district and also for the benefit of those using public transport, besides senior citizens, women, children etc, to move in the business district,” the spokesperson said.
Apart from restriction on vehicles, the NDMC also decided to develop water bodies to act as humidifier in the walking zone and landscape side walk cafes. The NDMC will also hold light and sound shows and organise street festivals.
Mr. Naidu stressed at the meeting that the objective of pedestrianisation would be to make Connaught Place congestion-free, accident-free and crime-free.