Delhi: A street smart city in making

Chock-a-block with vehicles, throwing up emissions adding to the ever-growing pollution cloud, the streets of Delhi hardly afford an inch of space for joggers and cyclists.

However, starting September, this is about to change as the stretch from Moolchand to Ashram Chowk will be the first of many in the national capital to be re-designed in a way so as to afford enough space for non-motorised vehicles, joggers and morning walkers.

Armed with a corpus of Rs 500 crore, the Arvind Kejriwal government has already started out on an ambitious bid to free up road spaces to carve out dedicated lanes that joggers and cyclists could use without the fear of being crushed under the wheels of a speeding vehicle.

Separate lanes for all

The stretch from Moolchand to Ashram Chowk in south Delhi, spanning three kilometres, would be the first come out with a relaid version of itself in September. The Public Works Department (PWD) is already on the job of creating such dedicated spaces for non-motorised traffic, joggers and pedestrians on parts of the Ring Road, from Moolchand to Ashram Chowk. After re-designing this stretch, the non-motorised corridor will be extended till Naraina, via Moti Bagh and Shivdaspuri.

Part of the dream project of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — ‘Street Scaping, Beautification and Widening of Roads’ — the stretches would be redeveloped in a way so as to bring them on par with those in the US and Europe. The estimated cost of re-designing the Moolchand-Ashram Chowk stretch has been pegged at Rs 75 crore. The objective, according to those associated with the project, is to provide pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically improved roads with a greener ambience and “zero” traffic hurdles. The Moolchand-Ashram Chowk corridor is among the 10 stretches earmarked by the PWD in 2018 for complete overhaul and street scaping to make them accessible for pedestrians, NMVs (non-motorised vehicles) and the disabled.

“Currently, one cannot imagine walking or cycling on the stretch from Moolchand to Ashram Marg, as it geometrically uneven and poor aligned. It is one of the busiest roadways in the city, with round-the-clock vehicle movement and no designated bus stops and pedestrian facilities such as subways, foot over bridges, thereby also making it far from disabled-friendly,” said a PWD official working on the project.According to an estimate of Delhi Traffic Police, more than 2 lakh vehicles ply on this stretch during peak commuting hours every day.

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Source: The New Indian Express