Sadar Bazar road to be off limits for vehicle on a trial basis
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) will start a week-long trial of restricting vehicular movement on a 600-metre stretch in Sadar Bazar on February 22, commencing a redesign project that has been on the cards since 2019.
Officials said that depending on the outcome of the trial, the MCG will take a call on enforcing the no-vehicle rule permanently, by installing hydraulic barriers and redesigning the area.
MCG officials said that the trial will be executed on the 600-metre stretch between Jama Masjid and the Head Post Office.
Set up in the 1930s, Sadar Bazar is the city’s oldest market with more than 1,500 shops. It is heavily congested and the narrow lanes compound the matter. On weekends, the daily footfall is around 20,000. As per MCG officials, more than 90% of the street users in the market are pedestrians and the redesign is being done to create equitable space for them.
Sadar Bazar’s redesign has been on the cards since August 2019, with the then MCG commissioner Amit Khatri citing the example of the redesign of Karol Bagh market by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). In Delhi, a 700-metre stretch of the market was turned into a vehicle-free zone, following which the MCG planned to implement similar measures at Sadar Bazar.
For the trial, the MCG will place temporary barriers at the entry and exit points to ensure no vehicles can pass through. Besides, the MCG is also setting up a dedicated vending zone for street vendors in the market.
“A few months ago, we had launched an urban street design competition, which also included remodelling the 600-metre stretch at Sadar Bazar. We’ll be incorporating around 70% of the elements from the design plan which secured first place in the competition. The remaining 30% has been modified by the MCG to suit the needs of the people visiting there,” said Jitender Garg, joint commissioner, MCG.
Garg said that certain elements, such as the allocation of parking space or the design of street vending zone, in the design proposals that were awarded the second and third places are more suitable to the on-ground requirements.
“Initially, the redesigning will be done for one week only. Depending on its success we’ll take a call on making it a permanent feature along with few modifications if needed,” said Garg.
He further said that he would hold a meeting with around 15 representatives of various associations of Sadar Bazar to explain the design model and apprise them of the week-long trial.
“While we support MCG’s initiative for making the market a no-vehicle zone, we’ll need clarity on whether this may lead to a reduction in visitors or have long-term gains. A majority of shopkeepers are under heavy losses due to the coronavirus outbreak. Any further loss due to a reduction in customers will be a major setback for us. So, the implementation has to be done keeping this perspective in mind,” said Bablu Gupta, president, Sadar Bazar Traders Association.
Garg said that the steps towards the trial have already started, with the MCG seizing items of around 25 street vendors who were encroaching the pathway and issuing notices to around 20 shopkeepers for allowing street vendors to be stationed outside their premises.
In December last year, the ministry of housing and urban affairs had carried out Streets for People Challenge at a national level, with the MCG anchoring the competition in Gurugram.