Red Fort crossing to take pedestrian-friendly turn
Delhi’s Public Works Department (PWD) is engaged in giving the main Red Fort-Chandni Chowk traffic junction an Oxford Street scramble crossing look, officials involved in the project said, adding they are making it a pedestrian friendly zone with raised crossovers for cyclists, decorative lights and flowering plants.
Scramble crossings for pedestrians at signal junctions are widely used in Japan and have been introduced in Canada and the United States as a way of prioritising pedestrian movement by stopping all traffic movement and allowing pedestrians to cross in every direction at the same time, according to a 2010 case study on Oxford Circus scheme.
A senior PWD official said the existing intersection at Red Fort is unsafe for pedestrians, and once the revamp of the Chandni Chowk-Fatehpuri is over, it will have more people walking around and waiting to cross the road amid heavy traffic. He said the scramble crossing will enhance the “load-bearing capacity” of the junction and accommodate more pedestrians.
The official said the revamped Red Fort crossing will be constructed with red granite stone and red concrete so that it gels well with the design scheme of the Red Fort and the redeveloped Chandni Chowk stretch. The revamp of Red Fort junction is a part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project, he said.
“Even on the main road, we will not use black tar to carpet the street. The portion of the main street (Netaji Subhash Marg) on the crossing will be made with red concrete and red granite stone from Rajasthan. Red granite stones will be laid in around 1,000 square-metre area of the intersection,” a senior PWD official said on condition of anonymity.
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Besides the stonework, the traffic intersection will have refuge islands and tabletop crossings for pedestrians on all arms of the intersection, X-shaped zebra crossings, decorative lights, and also a dedicated space for a police booth. There will be flowering plants as well.
Tabletop crossings as pavements work as speed breakers for vehicles while pedestrians can cross the road using them while refuge island is a small pavement where pedestrians can stop before crossing the road.
Under the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project, the PWD is turning the road stretch between Red Fort crossing and Fatehpuri Mosque into a pedestrian-only zone with the Mughal architecture style aesthetics. Officials said the current traffic junction does not go with the new-look Chandni Chowk. “So, to give the entire stretch a uniform look and make it safer for pedestrians, it was decided to revamp the intersection. We chose the amalgamation of Mughal-era architecture with modern design and facilities as the theme for the project, much like the Chandni Chowk plan,” the official said.
The construction work on the intersection began on Thursday last week with the Delhi Jal Board shifting utilities. In order to facilitate traffic on the junction, the Delhi traffic police last week shut half the carriageway between Daryaganj and Kashmere Gate till April 20.
A second PWD official said the deadline for the project completion is April 30, 2021. “The redeveloped Chandni Chowk will formally be inaugurated only after the completion of the revamp of the crossing. The estimated cost of the revamp of the traffic junction is around ₹3.5 crore,” the official said.
Sewa Ram, professor, traffic and planning, at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), said over 4,000 people cross the Red Fort intersection [both pedestrians and motorists] per hour per day so the junction needs measures to accommodate pedestrians comfortable and safely. He said, “After “pedestrianisation of the Chandni Chowk market, pedestrian influx at the crossing will only increase, and hence the junction will require long-term controlled crossing measures such as ‘humped subway’ or ‘a scramble crossing’.”
“Vehicular as well as pedestrian movement on the Red Fort intersection is quite high. So, systems such as pelican signal or simple zebra crossings will not work there. Either the authorities should construct a humped subway or a scramble crossing to make it safer for pedestrians. In foreign countries too, scramble crossings are adopted at high footfall junctions so that pedestrians can go in any direction,” he said.