• AAP govt proposes road-design cell to counter traffic woes; plan awaits L-G nod

    To overcome the menace of traffic snarls and ensure optimum use of road space in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has proposed for formation of a separate body which will work to redesign the city road system.

    The road design cell, will aim to revamp the congested roads and make them friendly towards pedestrians and cyclists. The makeover goal also includes plan to demarcate dedicated zones for street vendors, provisions for foot over bridges with glass lifts and staircases among other elaborate features.

    The cell which will have road safety expert, architects and PWD officials as members, will study the traffic pattern of all the major roads and finalise the design of roads in the city.

    Sources said Delhi PWD minister, Satyendar Jain, has proposed more space for pedestrians and cyclists on the city roads and they will be redesigned keeping that in mind. Last year, the government had proposed to revamp the design of ten roads in Delhi while giving preference to bicycle riders and roadside walkers but the project could not take off.

    “The proposal is pending with the L-G and we hope to get approval from him for a new body so that we can restart the project. The road-design cell will be formed for two years for the makeover of the city,” said a PWD official.

    Sources said that the department is persuading L-G to approve the proposal.

    Several flyovers have come up in the city over the past decade, but the problem of congestion continues to plague Delhi roads partly because the existing network of 33,260 km of roads is not being used properly.

    According to the transport department officials, despite enormous growth in vehicular population, Delhi has the capacity to handle traffic if lane driving is implemented properly.

    Read| Capital chaos: Delhi’s traffic has slowed down and doubled time spent on roads

    “An ideal road is where everyone has the designated space, from pedestrian to cars, public transport and cyclists. In future, movement for pedestrians will be made smooth by removing all obstacles and there will be provision of foot over bridges with glass lifts and staircases, keeping in mind the comfort of pedestrians,” the official added.

    In Delhi, about 35% of the commuters ‘walk only’ as means of transport. These commuters are different from the ones who walk to catch the public transport.

    “Inspite of the enormous motorization, the highest share of people still ‘walk’. Naturally, we need to improve the facility for pedestrians. Then to decongest roads, we need to give more importance to public transport so there is going to be dedicated lane for buses at majority of roads,” the official further said.

    In congested areas, Delhi government plans to have dedicated lanes for cycles and non-motorised vehicles and in market areas, there will be dedicated zones for street vendors. Experts claim that roads in Delhi have been primarily designed to increase the speed and ease of movement of car users.

    “Car-oriented design priority and discouragement of walking through inadequate design – has discouraged people from walking and in turn encouraged car-dependency. In ideal condition, preference should be given to non-motorized vehicles. In coming days, pedestrians will have space in every road but space for cars and bikes will be reduced. We will create dedicated cycle lanes too,” the official further said.

    Through redesigning, government is also planning to provide space for feeder vehicle for comfortable last mile connectivity from metro stations. Since only 1,200km of roads come under PWD, the Delhi government is planning to spend around Rs 5,000 crore to redesign wide roads of the city.

    Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that Delhi’s traffic problem is linked to flaws in road designs rather than space problem and his government was trying to rectify them. Government feels majority of road space have been occupied by cars across the city and that motorists constitute around 1.5% of the total road users.

    To improve public transport, government would ensure buses at an interval of 1-2 minutes at specific localities initially. Government may keep certain roads only for public transport as is done in many European cities and build cycle track along with metro stations.

    Key features of the road redesigning plan

    • Roads to be redesigned with focus on giving more space to pedestrians by widening the footpaths

    • Pedestrians Movement to be made smooth by removing all obstacles

    • Provision for foot over bridges with glass lifts and staircases, half-subways, at-grade zebra crossings

    • Footpaths with street furniture

    • Footpaths to be made friendly for differently-abled people

    • Dedicated lanes for cycles and non-motorised vehicles

    • Dedicated bus lanes wherever possible

    • Estimated cost: Rs. 1.25 crore per lane per km

    • Total length of lanes on selected roads: 200 km

    • Dedicated zones for street vendors

    • CCTV cameras for monitoring

    • Rain water harvesting units under the green area and the central median Marcel Dionne Jersey

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