Chandni Chowk redevelopment to ease traffic on adjacent roads: Traffic Police
Traffic volume on Netaji Subhash Marg and Jama Masjid Road is likely to reduce by 10% to 12%, while on other roads, the same traffic is estimated move more smoothly as bottlenecks are expected to ease.Updated: Aug 03, 2020 04:14 IST
Regulating vehicular movement on the Chandni Chowk main road as part of the redevelopment project will not only ease traffic chaos in the neighbourhood but is also expected to have a positive effect on adjoining arterial roads, says a detailed traffic assessment of the area conducted by Delhi traffic police.
The assessment focused on how traffic movement and vehicular volume will affect adjoining areas after the redevelopment plan is implemented.
According to the assessment, streamlining of vehicles in Chandni Chowk is likely to smoothen traffic on key roads such as Netaji Subhash Marg, Jama Masjid Road, Shanti Van Marg, Kasturba Hospital Marg and Ansari Road.
Traffic volume on Netaji Subhash Marg and Jama Masjid Road is likely to reduce by 10% to 12%, while on other roads, the same traffic is estimated move more smoothly as bottlenecks are expected to ease.
The 1.3-km stretch between Fatehpuri Masjid and Red Fort in Chandni Chowk is on its way to becoming car-free by October end -- replete with beautified sandstone pathway, greenery on both sides and dedicated lanes for e-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws .
The redevelopment project was supposed to have been completed by May this year but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Only allow pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles will be allowed between 9 am and 9 pm, after which loading and off-loading of goods will be permitted for the benefit of traders. Chandni Chowk is a wholesale hub.
During an inspection on July 23, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said most of the work was over and the stretch was expected to be opened for the public by October-end. Beautification work on 400 metres, of the total 1.3-km stretch, has been completed.
Traffic officials also expect that the promised 2,300-car multi-level parking facility being built by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation can tackle the problem of roadside parking.
“A major chokepoint during peak morning and evening rush hours is the Chandni Chowk-Netaji Subhash Marg crossing. Vehicles turning towards Chandni Chowk, near Jain temple, create chaos and the spillover is seen till Delhi Gate. Once the stretch is closed for traffic, we will see a visible difference,” a senior traffic official explained.
The assessment says that before the redevelopment project started, the Chandni Chowk main road had a vehicular movement of nearly 23,721 (only passenger vehicles) on both sides of the carriageway, which is quite low for a four-lane road. This shows the snarls were caused not by traffic volume but by chaotic parking and mismanaged movement of non-motorised vehicles such as cycle and battery-operated rickshaws.
On a weekday, about 172 cars and 196 two-wheelers would be parked at a time on the Chandni Chowk road. Even though these would be parked for 30 minutes or less, this affected the movement of vehicles on the road, where the effective carriageway was as narrow as 4.5 metres to 5 metres -- dropping to 4 metres at places.
“With pedestrianisation, we expect shoppers not coming for wholesale purchase to prefer Delhi Metro to commute. There was also shortage of parking space, and the multilevel parking would help,” the traffic official said.
A similar traffic assessment conducted around Karol Bagh after Ajmal Khan Road was made a pedestrian-only stretch observed that traffic movement had eased in the area.
Anuj Malhotra, knowledge partner with the union ministry of home affairs, who was also behind the Karol Bagh and Kamla Nagar pedestrianisation projects, said when a street is made car-free, traffic in adjacent areas readjust and jams eventually ease.
“For instance, if a street that was revamped had more goods vehicles, that load is likely to shift to the neighbouring streets but then the volume of private vehicles will automatically reduce,” Malhotra said.
He said a comprehensive traffic plan for entire Chandni Chowk is being worked out with the north corporation, which is delayed because of Covid-19. Though it is in a nascent stage, it will ease traffic snarls in the entire area.
The traffic assessment report of the Chandni Chowk main road said, “The composition of traffic on Esplanade Road, Deewan Hall Road, Dariba Kalan Road, Bhagirath Palace Road, Nai Sadak, Bali Maran Road, Khari Baoli Road and Naya Bazar Road mainly consists of cycle rickshaws, two-wheelers, cycles and small tempos. The rush on these roads is likely to continue. A separate traffic plan for these areas could yield better results.”
Pralad Singh Sawhney, Chandni Chowk MLA, said the area has been the centre of the Capital’s heritage and such a plan will help people visit the neighbourhood with ease. “Surely, we will see a major difference. We are conducting regular meetings with stakeholders to look at the progress,” Sawhney said.