ITO, INA Market, DU campuses to be made friendlier for pedestrians
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed a series of measures to make seven key areas, which include educational or institutional zones, traffic junctions, and important markets in the city, safe and friendly for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles(NMV).
The authority has come out with “walk plans” for ITO junction, INA market and Metro station, Hauz Khas/IIT-Delhi, Delhi university’s (north and south campuses), and Lajpat Nagar and Kamla Nagar markets. These plans are part of the DDA’s walkability policy, which was approved in 2019, and is aimed at providing pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in the Capital. According to the policy, 34% of all daily personal trips, 58% of all trips to educational institutions, and 31% of business or service trips are “walk only”.
The walk plans were approved last week by the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC), which is chaired by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal.
DDA officials said all the areas taken up have a high volume of pedestrians moving amid high-speed traffic, specially at ITO junction, Aurobindo Marg near INA, Ring Road, and Outer Ring Road.
The agency plans to prepare 27 more walk plans, of which 15 are ready, including the ones approved last week. DDA officials said walk plans are being prepared for Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama, all interstate bus terminuses, and Karol Bagh, market among others.
“We have considered an area within a radius of about 500metres around the Metro stations to implement the plan. We will soon send the plans to Delhi government’s public works department (PWD), which can prepare a detailed project report and implement the project, a senior DDA official said, asking not to be named.
However, when contacted, a senior PWD official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they had not received any plan so far.
DDA officials said the area-specific walk plans aim to address localised problems. For instance, the walk plan for ITO junction, one of the busiest traffic junctions in the city, talks about connecting the skywalk, which was made operational in 2019, with the foot overbridge at Tilak Bridge railway station. “A large number of people who work at ITO come on trains from nearby towns. In the absence of proper connectivity to ITO, people have to walk along the railway tracks to reach ITO. Connecting the overbridge at Tilak Bridge with the skywalk will provide thousands of people hassle-free access to ITO and Pragati Maidan Metro station,” said a DDA official in the know of the plan.
Amit Bhatt, head of transport, World Resources Institute (WRI), India, said, “There is a need to calculate the influence area at ITO. Its influence area is between Delhi Gate and India Gate. Just improving the ITO junction won’t help. For significant results, a walk plan for a big area around ITO has to be prepared.”
The walk plan also talks about providing a dedicated cycling path and continuous pavement of 500m around ITO Metro station.
Experts have welcomed the DDA’s decision to prepare area-specific walk plans, but they said there is a need to have a comprehensive walkability plan for the city. Bhatt said, “The world over, cities which have good pedestrian infrastructure have city-level walkability plans, which are essential as they broadly indicate requirements such as minimum width of pavements, lights, shade, pedestrian-friendly crossings etc. For instance, a 2m wide pavement is required, especially on arterial roads. Area-specific plans can then be prepared or tweaked as per the ground situation.”
The walk plans propose having pavement width of 1.8-2m in all the six areas.
But Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said the width of the pavement should be determined by the pedestrian volume in the area.