Traffic around Connaught Place (CP), already chaotic, is going to worsen many times over once offices start functioning out of a 28-storey office complex coming up on Minto Road, part of a web of roads radiating out of CP.
The part-built Civic Centre, as the tallest structure in the Capital is being called, will be the new home of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) headquarters.
In addition, it will be home to art galleries, an auditorium that will seat 1,000 people, a banquet and a conference hall and food courts.
When the MCD and scores of private firms start operating out of the structure, likely in 2009, 40,000 visitors are expected to crowd it daily, packing Minto Road, already bursting with traffic, with 3,500 more vehicles and clogging Connaught Place, a nightmare for motorists already.
Road infrastructure to accommodate the increased traffic generated by daily visitors to the Civic Centre is expected only a year later, by 2010.
Minto Road already clogged
Minto Road that connects Connaught Place with the Ajmeri Gate side of the New Delhi railway station already handles high traffic volume and, with more vehicles using it, it would be a battle for motorists to enter snarl-hit Connaught Place.
Traffic police apprehensive
“Connaught Place will have to bear the brunt of higher traffic volume both from the New Delhi railway station and the Civic Centre. The railways are planning to add more commercial space to the station, which would result in more traffic. We are still to receive any plan from the MCD. To tackle the problem, several underground and multilevel parking spaces need to be built,” said S.N. Srivastav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
Thanks to visitors to the Civic Centre, traffic volume on the Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg is set to increase and, as a large number of these motorists would turn right on to Minto Road, they would come in conflict with traffic coming from the New Delhi railway station.
What MCD says
The MCD’s commissioner, in a letter sent to the municipal secretary in 2007, acknowledged the Civic Centre would contribute to traffic problems in Connaught Place. “Once the building comes up, it alone will contribute 3,500 passenger cars every hour during peak hours. Delhi plans to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010 when the New Delhi railway station and Connaught Place would be packed with commuters and participants, fuelling the traffic chaos further,” reads the letter.
Traffic management plan
“The traffic management plan would be complete in 20 days and will be sent to the traffic department for clearance. If they offer us any suggestion, we will try to incorporate those. The road infrastructure for the Civic Centre such as flyovers and underpasses would be ready by 2010. There might be traffic chaos till the infrastructure is ready but after that the situation will improve,” said one MCD official.
Under the MCD’s traffic management plan, one flyover from DDU Marg to Bhavbhuti Marg, three underpasses and one travelator from the New Delhi railway station to the Civic Centre would be built to manage the traffic flow.
At a time when parking space has not kept pace with the number of vehicles in the city, the Civic Centre faces a tough challenge: provide enough parking space for its visitors. The future doesn’t seem rosy: the MCD has made provisions for only 2,500 cars.
The tallest building of the Capital will not only house the headquarters of the MCD but also make space for private firms. There will be art galleries, an auditorium to seat 1,000 people, a banquet hall, food courts and a conference hall, drawing thousands of visitors. “More than 50 per cent space in the building would be allotted to private players,” an MCD official said.
The long queues of people waiting to file property tax at the property tax department of the MCD earlier would shift to the Civic Centre.
As also all other MCD departments, such as education and the remunerative projects cell.
The Civic Centre would have five blocks housing the deliberative, public dealing, cultural, conference and institutional-cum-commercial arms of the civic body. There will be six entry and exit points.