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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Congested Lal Quarter market in East Delhi turns pedestrian-friendly

East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar Real test of pedestrianisation today as market remained shut on Monday

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2019 11:48 IST
Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Lal Quarter road in Krishna Nagar market during the pilot run on Monday.
The Lal Quarter road in Krishna Nagar market during the pilot run on Monday.(Sanchit khanna/ HT photo)

Visitors to the busy Krishna Nagar market in east Delhi were in for a surprise on Monday. The market’s main Lal Quarter Road, which usually remains clogged with haphazard parking and encroachment, was all clear for pedestrians. The road even had street furniture such benches and potted plants.

According to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) officials, the pilot of the pedestrianisation project went off smoothly barring some hiccups. However, the real test will on Tuesday since the market remains closed on Mondays. They said the project will be implemented permanently from November 15.

Other east Delhi markets such as Laxmi Nagar, Geeta Colony and Gandhi Nagar are next in line to be pedestrianised, an EDMC official said.

According to plan, the main road of the Lal Quarter market from Chacchi Building to Ghondli Chowk has been developed as a pedestrian walkway and another small stretch on Mandir Marg has been declared a non-motorised zone. Krishna Nagar market dates back to the 1950s and is one of the oldest in east Delhi. It is popular among locals for its eateries, apparel shops and jewellery stores. The market gets a footfall of 10,000 on weekdays and 20,000 on weekends.

EDMC commissioner Dilraj Kaur said the trial run of the pedestrianisation plan is to identify problems. She appealed to the people to cooperate in the initiative.

“Everyone, be it the shoppers or the traders, will benefit from this plan. It will help improving the footfall in the market and the business will pick up. For now this is a trial run and we will take note of whatever problem shoppers and traders face and we will address them. It’s a good move which we have to implement anyway,” she said.

Though the traffic police has barricaded the main street and declared it pedestrian-only area, some two-wheelers sneaked in on Monday. Many commuters had a verbal spat with the traffic authorities as they were unaware of the move.

“It was the first day of the restrictions and many people were not aware so some might have sneaked in the restricted area. It’s just a matter of making people aware,” Kaur said.

EDMC assistant commissioner and nodal officer for the project, Aman Rajput said the move would not only decongest the market but also improve the shopping experience there.

“The demand of parking in Lal Quarter market is around 441 cars. We have accommodated it with the help of a nearby multilevel parking lot of 250 cars and on-street parking at three nearby roads. Parking vehicles at multilevel parking will be free till the tenders are invited,” Rajput said.

Ashok Taneja, vice-president of the Lal Quarter Market, said pedestrianisation of the road is a good concept. “It will help in decongesting the market and increase footfall. We are fully cooperating with the municipal authorities,” he said.

Shoppers also praised the move and said the experience would improve now. “It is a pleasure walking down the street today (Monday). Now vehicles are not there to disturb us. Pedestrians should be given priority over vehicles in busy markets,” Sonam Pandey, a fashion designer, said.

BS Vohra, president of an umbrella group of east Delhi RWAs, said pedestrian streets is a good concept and must be taken very seriously as the outcome depends on its proper implementation.

“The trial run at Krishna Nagar must be analysed by the experts before coming to any conclusion. Views of RWAs and market associations must be given due importance as they are the ones who have to bear the success or failure of any such policy,” he said.

First Published: Oct 08, 2019 11:48 IST

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