In post Covid-19 world, cities to have pedestrian-friendly markets, more cyclists: Centre
Post-Covid 19 market spaces will need to be more pedestrian friendly, cycling and walking network will need to be expanded, the Centre has told states in an advisory issued by the ministry of housing and urban affairs.
The ministry has recommended holistic planning for pedestrian friendly market spaces in various cities and municipal areas in the country in consultation with stake holders. The ministry has asked states to select at least three market places in million-plus cities for the ‘pedestrianisation plan’ and non-million plus cities to select at least one market area.
The selection of city market spaces for the plan has to be completed by June 30, 2020 according to the advisory reviewed by Hindustan Times.
“Covid-19 has brought cities around the world to a halt. Public transport is either shut or very limited in many cities. Movement of private motor vehicles is controlled. However, cities have benefitted from cleaner air. As cities look to ease the lockdown, the need of the hour is to provide safe, affordable and equitable modes of transport and also ensure physical distancing,” the advisory said.
“While the lockdown is being gradually relaxed, the need for social distancing, especially in market areas, will remain. The pandemic presents us with an opportunity to re-imagine streets for people. To make market areas Covid-19 safe and people friendly, Indian cities should consider pedestrianizing them. The need for personalized forms of transport is also expected to increase as a response to Covid-19. Cities around the world are leveraging the opportunity to expand their cycling network substantially,” it added.
The holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market space may be done in consultation with the stake holders. “This will require proper survey of space used in the present scenario by various stakeholders. A movement/direction plan has to be prepared to see that there are designated walking paths where visitors are able to follow social distancing,” it said.
Once the plan is made and firmed up, cities may start implementation in two phases – short term and long term, the advisory states.
“Short-term recommendations include interventions that are quick, temporary, easy to install, and ensure safety to commuters after the lockdown. The market spaces could be rearranged with quick and temporary measures such as barricades, road closure for vehicles., etc…On-street parking space or even carriageway lanes can be repurposed to provide more walking and waiting space…Cyclists may be allowed with dedicated/ear-marked pathways,” it said.
Provision of access to motor vehicles for residents of the area to commute should be clearly delineated. Municipal Bodies may increase the width of foot paths of the streets leading to the market, it added.
Adequate provision of high frequency public transit may be ensured for citizens to access the market area in a comfortable manner. The design of the vending spaces provides a good opportunity for innovations, the advisory said.
“Long term permanent structures for promoting pedestrianisation can be developed after temporary short-term measures are found working,” it added.
The holistic planning of the area through stakeholder consultation can be undertaken over the next three months, till September 30, the advisory noted, and the survey of the vendors and other users of the market space could be carried out and completed by July 31, 2020.
“By the end of September 2020, a plan may be formalised to start implementation. Short term measures such a temporary barricading, closure of roads for traffic, earmarking spaces, etc. to assess the plan on the field may be started in the first week of October 2020. The assessment of the implemented plan through short term measures may be done by November 2020 and amendments as required may be completed by November 2020,” it added.