Shopkeepers, traffic police divided over new service lane at INA market
Nearly two weeks ago, acting on traffic police’s advice, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) banned parking on a nearly 200m stretch between the main road and the market where mostly two-wheelers were being parked.delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2018 21:33 IST
What was till recently used as a parking lot for two-wheelers in south Delhi’s INA Market, has been converted into a service road to manage traffic on the often-choked Aurobindo Marg.
The move, however, has become a bone of contention between Delhi traffic police and local businessmen.
Nearly two weeks ago, acting on traffic police’s advice, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) banned parking on a nearly 200m stretch between the main road and the market where mostly two-wheelers were being parked.
The new lane is to be used by vehicles heading to the market and by buses heading southwards. This means instead of continuing on Aurobindo Marg, buses moving towards AIIMS will use the lane immediately after descending from the Safdarjung Flyover.
According to special commissioner of police (traffic) Dependra Pathak, the buses now move out rapidly unlike before when they had to wait longer on the main road before reaching the INA Market bus stop.
Police said the conversion has facilitated the smooth flow of traffic. But shopkeepers say that it has affected their businesses due to the shrinkage of the already limited parking space. They say the lane has done little to decongest Aurobindo Marg.
Deepak Bhutani, president of the market association, said the lane is not wide enough for a car to pass when a bus is standing. “This means our shoppers who come in cars have to wait longer to reach the residual parking area of the market. Additionally, it risks pedestrian safety as speeding buses coming from the flyover can hit someone trying to enter the market via the lane,” said Bhutani.
The two-wheelers will now have to be adjusted in the car-parking area, Bhutani added.
“This has caused inconvenience to shoppers and the footfall is low. This is a popular market and even diplomats come here. A decent parking space is required but what was available with us has been reduced,” said cosmetic shop owner Bobby Singh Khurana.
Babu Antony, another shopkeeper, said added that despite a ban on parking on the narrow lane, many car drivers just come and wait there, choking it even further. “There is no policeman to remove these cars or the autorickshaws that stand in a queue and clog part of the main Aurobindo Marg. Much of the traffic is because of bad management and this step has not addressed those problems at all,” said Antony.
Hindustan Times visited the market twice on a weekday — once during the afternoon and then in the evening peak hours . In the evening, buses were moving rapidly, but in the afternoon, there were many unattended cars parked in the ‘no parking’ area, leaving less space for buses to move comfortably.
Many buses continued plying on the main road.
Bhutani said when NDMC told them that they were taking away the parking on the advice of the traffic police, they had raised objections, but the council still went ahead.
Reacting to these allegations, special CP Pathak said they received the suggestions and were looking at them with an “open mind.”