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Heritage experts welcome DN Road proposal

Heritage experts have extended a cautious welcome to MTDC's proposal to transform Dadabhai Naoroji Road (DN Road) into a walking plaza-cum-heritage walk twice in a month, reports Neha Bhayana.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 22:38 IST

Heritage experts have extended a cautious welcome to MTDC's proposal to transform Dadabhai Naoroji Road (DN Road) into a walking plaza-cum-heritage walk twice in a month.

While most of them whom HT spoke to on Thursday agreed that the pedestrianisation of the road—a primary arterial linkage in the Fort area—was a "great idea", they felt the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation would have to put in a lot of thought and planning to make it a success.

"The idea is good but the MTDC must consult traffic planners, conservations architects, citizen's groups and other organisations to make it workable," said conservation architect Abha Narain-Lambah.

Experts also feel that Sunday was a good choice since offices were closed and vehicular traffic was less but reiterated the importance of detailed traffic planning. "They will have to look at off-road parking, streets off DN Road will have to accommodate cars," said Lambah.

Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director of Urban Design and Research Institute (UDRI), which has been suggesting that these areas be made into pedestrian zones since the 1980s, said sound traffic planning such as diversion of traffic into parallel lanes and use of retractable bollards can make it possible.

"It is important that the money generated is put back into conserving the heritage structures in the area," said Joshi.

Traffic expert Sudhir Badami also felt that the MTDC should, in fact, have several bus lanes to cater to the influx of people. "At least 150,000 people disembark at CST every hour of which only 15,000 can be accommodated in buses or taxis, the rest walk towards Colaba. There should definitely be more public transport," he said.

That the pedestrianisation, even if only twice a month, will give a boost to the heritage value of the area, is certain, say experts. "There are so many Grade 1 and 2 heritage buildings in the area. This will help create awareness among tourist and pedestrians," said historian and conservationist Sharda Dwivedi.

Dwivedi said this will also give a boost to the heritage walks in the Fort area. "When the Kala Ghoda stretch is closed for the festival it makes it possible to have walking tours. The same can be the case at DN Road," she said.

Email Neha Bhayana: neha.bhayana@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 23, 2006 22:38 IST