Cars, buses banned in CP for 3 months starting February
In a major step aimed at making Connaught Place congestion free, the Centre has decided to ban vehicular movement of cars and buses in the heart of Delhi for three months starting first week of February.
According to Urban Development Ministry official, the ban will be part of a pilot Smart City project that will be launched next month and will aim at reducing pollution and congestion in the area.
As part of the project, the inner and middle circles of Connaught Place — the imposing commercial area built by Edwin Lutyens in 1933 — will be barred to traffic, a senior official said, adding that park and ride services on cycles and battery-operated vehicles will be offered from the surrounding parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika parking.
“Commuters would be provided free of cost ride facilities through e-rickshaws or other battery-operated vehicles. These vehicles will ferry passengers to their nearest destination, which will help shopkeepers of the area to get their customers at their doorstep. Shopkeepers of the area are most worried over the move. They fear that it would hit their businesses as customers won’t prefer to take much pain for visiting a shop,” the official said.
“This is a very absurd idea. CP is a commercial centre, not a tourist destination. The moment inner circle will be made vehicle-free, the outer circle will be choked. We have already seen a demo on the Yoga day,” said Atul Bhargava, president, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA).
The total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 and only 1,088 vehicles are parked on an average, the police said.
The Ministry of Urban Development said the three-month “pedestrianisation” of the area — which has some of the city’s most recognisable heritage structures — will test the effects on traffic, management of reclaimed parking lots, and record the experience of the pedestrians and shop owners.
At a meeting on Thursday to discuss the Smart City Project, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu also discussed the possibility of landscaping, developing water bodies, side-walk cafes, public plazas, holding light and sound shows and street festivals. The minister said the vehicle ban is meant to offer a “congestion free, accident free and crime free” experience to visitors.
At the meeting, the NDMC and Delhi Police officials stated that pedestrianisation could be promoted by declaring the middle and inner circular roads of Connaught Place vehicle-free by providing effective “park and ride” services from defined major parking areas.
Responding to a query of the minister as to by when the people would feel the impact of it, NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar said the results on ground could be seen in the next four to five months. “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 official said.