The first day of the year was chaotic and dangerous for visitors to Connaught Place. Shoppers looking forward to a relaxing day out with family and friends were rather disappointed with renovation work and traffic jams claiming most of the seven-decade-old commercial centre.
While most commuters found themselves stranded in traffic jams, pedestrians were seen dangerously skirting rapid oncoming traffic at busy intersections like the Baba Kharak Singh Marg and the Janpath crossings.
“It’s utter chaos,” said Mohd, Irshad (24), a driver. “Most of the red lights aren’t working and pedestrians are popping-out from everywhere.”
With the five existing subways located at the outer circle under renovation, pedestrians had no alternative except running for their lives on the main roads.
“Things are just going haywire everywhere in CP today. There’s everything from cycles to crowded buses fighting for space on the same road,” said Rohini Lall (19), a first year student of the Indraprastha College for Women.
Lall had several close shaves as she attempted to cross over from Janpath to Palika Bazar.
“There’s just no system to ensure pedestrian safety,” said Charan Singh (48), a government bank employee.
“I wonder how many road accidents will take place in these 80 days with traffic restrictions and the ongoing subway renovation work.”
Shoppers were visibly dismayed at the dug-up sidewalks and barricaded corridors.
“I’m glad I don’t bring my wife and children here,” said Virendra Singh Gosain (25), a Delhi Stock Exchange employee.
“It’s like CP has become a dangerous maze. So many pits dug up everywhere and construction material strewn all around — bringing young children here would be a big mistake.”
Visitors commuting by bus had problems of their own.
“There’s such a huge traffic jam that it’s taking forever for buses to reach,” said Rahul Singh (24), a bank employee.
“God knows how things will continue like this for the next 80 days,” he said.