East Delhi’s Lal Quarter market to be walking haven
After successes in Karol Bagh and Lajpat Nagar in the northern and the southern parts of the national Capital, civic agencies are now working to “pedestrianise and beautify” a market in east Delhi.
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has chalked out a “traffic re-management plan” for the Lal Quarter Market in Krishna Nagar. EDMC officials said it is the “most organised market” in the dense and chaotic trans-Yamuna neighbourhood, and hence is the first choice for the corporation’s “market decongestion plans”.
The corporation is working with Delhi Traffic Police, local market traders’ associations, and resident welfare associations to modify the traffic plan at the market. The trial run will begin this month or by August, an official from EDMC’s parking cell, who is working on the project, said.
“The 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. It is called a ‘mini Connaught Place’ (CP) but that also means a huge footfall and daily traffic jams,” said Dilraj Kaur, commissioner, EDMC. The market gets a footfall of 10,000 on weekdays and 20,000 on weekends.
The main market road from Chhachi Building — also called Hanuman Chowk — to Vijay Chowk, a one kilometre-long stretch, will only be for pedestrians, officials said. Moreover, two other roads — Block A road and Block C road — that go around the horseshoe-shaped market will get a “one-way only traffic plan”. Kaur said, “We want shoppers to enjoy being here and women and children, particularly, should feel safe to walk around.”
Officials said the civic agency is trying to get visitors and traders to stop parking their vehicles on the Lal Quarter Market main road, and instead use the nearby Krishna Nagar multilevel parking facility, that has been developed at a cost of Rs 24 crore. The facility has six levels and 200 car parking spots. “We will award the tender to operate and maintain it this month itself,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
“We have already removed soft encroachments on the main market road such as extra steps or platforms created by shopkeepers; purchasing ornamental street lights, benches and flower pots to be installed here; and will make markings on the road soon,” said Sandeep Kapoor, EDMC standing committee chairperson and area councillor.
Civic bodies in Delhi are trying to create ‘pedestrian only shopping streets’ at par with cities in Europe. The idea is to remove vehicles, put up artworks, enhance greenery, and open restaurants and cafes to enhance the shopping experience.
Recently, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) put up traffic restrictions at the inner circle of Connaught Place on June 30, a Sunday, to allow visitors to walk around. Besides Karol Bagh, the north municipality is pedestrianising stretches at Kamla Nagar and Kirti Nagar markets. The south corporation is doing the same at Greater Kailash I and II markets besides Lajpat Nagar.
Meenu Choudhary, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic, said the EDMC has approached traffic police with the new vehicle circulations plans. “But we are yet to examine it,” she said.
Both the market association and local residents at Krishna Nagar welcomed EDMC’s plan. “Our market is especially big on Diwali, Rakshabandhan and Dhanteras. It is decorated with flowers, props and lights. We want shoppers to enjoy the market without worrying about traffic jams,” said the general secretary of the Lal Quarter Traders association, Bansi Lal Arora.
Vishan Soni, resident of Krishna Nagar, H Block, concurred. “It only means we will have to deal with lesser noise, honking and air pollution. We will extend our full support,” he said