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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Mobility plan to shape Gurugram roads in three phases

cities Updated: Sep 22, 2019 20:05 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai

Gurugram The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority’s (GMDA) draft mobility management plan (MMP), currently open for public objections and feedback, proposes to overhaul the city’s transport and traffic infrastructure in three broad phases — immediate and short-term, medium-term and long-term.

A major part of this overhaul, according to the MMP, is the creation of at least three model streets, which will facilitate not just vehicular movement but also create accessible public spaces for citizens.

In the first phase, the School of Planning and Architecture’s (SPA) transport planning department (which drafted the MMP), has suggested upgrading road signs, traffics lights and pedestrian infrastructure, improving efficiency of key intersections, revamping bus depots and bus stops, increasing access to public transport, and streamlining the movement of intermediate public transport, such as autos and private cabs.

In the medium and long-term phases, the MMP has proposed five plans for improvement of road networks, public transport, intermediate public transport, movement of freight vehicles, and management of traffic signals, which build on the short-term interventions.

The long-term goal is one of “improving modal share of public transport from existing 13.9% to 40% and to promote social inclusion by increasing public transport availability and accessibility to all social groups.” The MMP also aims to ensure that 60% of the city’s population will live within 500 metres of a transit line.

Most notably, however, the draft MMP also includes a plan to develop model streets under a corridor development plan under its long-term objective, with the aim to “reconcile the city’s conflicting needs of mobility and liveability.” “Private motor vehicle ownership has made streets the domain of traffic, whereas there are many social and economic activities that have traditionally taken place on streets, which need to be accounted for at the planning stage,” said Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at SPA.

The MMP also mentions that Gurugram’s streets are “functioning less as social gathering spaces and market areas, and more as conduits for an ever-increasing volume of traffic.” The corridor development plan of the MMP, SPA officials said, aims at changing this paradigm and turning streets into safe and accessible public spaces.

“Streets are not just places to commute, they are also places to be, to enjoy recreational activities, meet people and earn a living. This is something that city planners sometimes forget,” a senior professor of urban planning at SPA said.

To implement this plan, the SPA has proposed nine interventions, including pedestrian walkways, traffic calming measures, cycling infrastructure, space for street furniture, road markings and signage, bus shelters, auto-rickshaw stands, dedicated vehicle lanes and increasing the number of median openings for easy pedestrian access on all streets within the Gurugram-Manesar Urban Complex area.

Moreover, the draft proposes three corridors where such model street pilots will be implemented — a 6.6 kilometre stretch between Huda City Centre and Subash Chowk, the 5km stretch of Golf Course Extension Road, and the 5.7km stretch between Huda City Centre and Rajesh Pilot Chowk, all of which are largely pedestrian-unfriendly.

According to the proposal, these roads will have footpaths 2.5-2.8 metres wide, two-metre-wide cycle lanes, service lanes at least two metres wide and carriageways of about 9 to 10 metres. The draft also proposes to have street furniture, such as seating areas and dedicated shade areas, to attract pedestrians, as well as dedicated hawking zones.

“These model street designs are especially important in a city like Gurugram, where there are different types of people who use roads. The ideal urban street is an inclusive one, but in reality, Gurugram’s streets mainly serve vehicles. However, when one creates streets that can be used for different purposes, such as hawking and recreation, it makes them safer, reduces traffic fatalities and enriches public life,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, a city-based transport expert.

GMDA officials did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 20:05 IST

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