Don’t push pedestrians to subways: Chidambaram

Building subways for pedestrian crossing is a “retrograde move”,Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said while answering a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday about the state of traffic at Gol Dhak Khana roundabout.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 19, 2009 11:48 pm

Building subways for pedestrian crossing is a “retrograde move”,Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said while answering a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday about the state of traffic at Gol Dhak Khana roundabout. “Pedestrians have as much,if not a greater,claim to roads as vehicles,” Chidambaram told the House. “The tendency to push pedestrians into subterranean subways and allow vehicles to use the road surface is a retrograde move.”

Rajya Sabha member Rajniti Prasad had raised a question on the absence of pedestrian facilities at the Gol Dak Khana roundabout. What has added to the traffic nightmare in the area is the ongoing construction on the New Delhi-IGI Airport Metro line,expected to be completed next year. Five arterial roads converge at the Gole Dak Khana,which has been declared a heritage building.

Chidambaram told the house that he had discussed the issue with Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal on Wednesday morning. “The traffic police have posted nine policemen to manually regulate traffic in that area,” he said. “There is also one policeman on motorcycle who moves around regulating the traffic. All traffic is stopped for 20 seconds every two to two-and-a-half minutes,allowing pedestrians to cross during non-peak hours. I advised the police commissioner that they should stop all traffic for at least 10 to 15 seconds every 2 to 3 minutes even in peak hours to enable the elderly,children,women and others to cross the road.”

The Central Road Research Institute will also conduct a study of the area.

Stressing that a subway will not solve the problem,he said: “If I were a pedestrian,I would not want to use a subway. Subways in Delhi are under-utilised because pedestrians don’t want to be pushed under the ground whereas traffic moves on the surface.”

He said roads here are not planned: “(When) Delhi roads were planned,we did not plan like Amsterdam or The Hague,where cyclists have as much right to use roads as vehicles.”

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