Gurgaon should be put on traffic diet, says Bogotá’s BRT man

  • Snehil Sinha, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2015 14:58 IST
Very few cars were seen parked in the surface parking lot near Cyber Hub on the weekly car-free day observed on Tuesday. (Abhinav Saha/HT Photo)

Urban planning and transport experts discussed ways to develop infrastructure for non-motorised transport (NMT) in Gurgaon on Tuesday.

The Gurgaon police and leaders of the city’s private sector also participated in the discussion which was part of the weekly car-free day event.

Dario Hidalgo, the brain behind the bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Colombia, spoke about the future of NMT and the way forward for car-free days. According to him, the community in Gurgaon has been showing interest in alternative transport options but the government too needs to provide infrastructure to meet the demand.

“Car-free days cannot be written off as a token event. It is a means to an end. I hope the authorities become aware of the growing demand for sustainable transport and provide necessary infrastructure,” said Hidalgo, who is also the director for integrated transport at WRI-EMBARQ.

He added that increasing roads and flyovers to ease traffic congestion is like buying bigger pants to control obesity. “Gurgaon needs to be put on a traffic diet so that congestion can be controlled. The solution is not to build more roads but to convince people to use non-motorised and public transport,” he said.

Centre awards police for NMT initiatives

The Union ministry of urban development has awarded the Gurgaon police the annual Urban Mobility India (UMI) award for best NMT projects. Last year too, the police got the award for organising Raahgiri Day. This year, it has been awarded for several sustainable transport initiatives -- Raahgiri, Car-free Day, light-a-cycle, road safety summer camp for schoolchildren, zero tolerance days, joy of giving week, road safety officers (RSOs) and community policing.

UMI awards are given to best practice projects in urban transport that include NMT, city bus service, urban mass transit project, intelligent transport system and improving safety in urban transport. Gurgaon beat Indore, Mysore, Bhopal and Bangalore to win the award.

The nominations were former joint commissioner of police (traffic) Bharti Arora. When she was asked how the initiatives will sustain if top officials are transferred, she said: “We conduct these events in association with private partners. We have also formed a society for safe Gurgaon with residents as members. They will take the initiatives forward.”

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