GMDA proposes pedestrian, cyclist-friendly design for Anath Road
The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is inviting public comments and objections for its proposal to redesign Anath Road in Sector 18, which connects Atlas Chowk on NH-48 to the Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road. The proposal not only aims to rechristen the stretch as ‘Sanath Raah’, but also redesign it as a more pedestrian- and cycle-friendly road.
According to the proposal, which was drafted by the Raahgiri Foundation, it was vital to redesign the stretch as “over 70% road users are pedestrians”, but only a third of the street’s right of way (ROW) area is available for their mobility.
The proposal states that in addition to “thousands of villagers from Sirhaul village using the street for thoroughfare as pedestrians”, the road is also used by several modes of transport that function at different capacities and at varying speeds, leading to traffic congestion. These include private buses, institutional buses, state buses, minibuses, trucks, LCVs, private cars, autos, two-wheelers and taxis.
“Organised private parking for companies occupies most of the walkable space,” states the proposal, a copy of which is available on the GMDA website. “Patches of footpath are encroached upon by vendors, while other parts of the ROW are used for dumping waste or have inaccessible landscapes for general pedestrians, forcing them to use the vehicular road,” said Sarika Bhatt, head of the Raahgiri Foundation.
According to a document available on the GMDA website, “The street design is proposed for better vehicular, cyclist and pedestrian integrated movement on the road… with organised parking, drop-off and waiting areas on the complete stretch measuring 2.4kms.” The overhaul will feature dedicated walking and cycling paths shaded by a green belt, a bus bay for smooth movement of large vehicles, and four pedestrian crossings.
“While it is close to a highway, Anath Road is actually an urban street and should be designed as one. A four-lane carriageway will be maintained for movement of (vehicular) traffic, while the remaining ROW and unused space will be decluttered and made available to vulnerable road users. It is an exercise in ‘place making’, or creating usable public space.”
The 2.4km stretch also has 370 fully grown trees which will be integrated into the redesign.
Anath Road, in addition to being a transit hub for travellers between Delhi and Gurugram’s Udyog Vihar, is also a commercial hub with offices of numerous MNCs. According to a 2017 survey by a private company, Nagarro, over 1,500 cyclists and 4,500 pedestrians use the stretch every day.
Built in 1991 ahead of a UK delegation’s visit to the city, the road has since become the site of neglect. In 2010, the MNCs and residents of nearby Sector 18 conducted a ceremony and to name the stretch ‘Anath Road’ as it was “orphaned by civic agencies”. The ceremony caught the state government’s attention, and the then finance minister Birender Singh directed the public works department (PWD) to repair the road. However, it is unclear whether any repairs were carried out at all. The road is officially known as Subedar Major Laxmi Chand Road.
GMDA chief engineer Jitender Mittal said, “The proposal was opened for public feedback on August 5. Active citizens are encouraged to scrutinize the plan so we can arrive at an even consensus on how to implement this proposal.” Mittal added that it was important for stakeholders, such as MNCs and street vendors to share their comments now before the redesign measures are finalised.
Citizens have till August 26 to submit their feedback on the GMDA website.
According to the GMDA Act, 2017, such proposal for infrastructure development needs to be in accordance with the GMDA’s infrastructure development plan. “As the infrastructure development plan is at the drafting stage and the street design proposal is in public interest… the proposal is intended to be taken forward,” the document states.