After the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) banned traffic on Bengaluru’s popular road Church Street during weekends, for five months, under the ‘Clean Air Street’ initiative, it is now planning to expand it to other major roads of the city.
Next road on the card is Gandhi Bazaar, a busy market area in Basavanagudi. To make Gandhi Bazar area a pedestrian friendly road, DULT has consulted with GIZ, a German-based company, to design the initiative similar to Church Street.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, V Manjula, Commissioner, DULT said they are planning to extend the ‘Clean Air Street’ initiative in a phased manner. “We are conducting a quantitative and qualitative impact assessment study of Church Street and after its success we will extend the initiative to other parts of the city.”
Gandhi Bazaar is one of the oldest areas in the city. Known for spices, fruits, vegetables, and flower shops, the bazar witnesses a large footfall during weekends and festival seasons. The DULT is in talks with locals, residents, vendors, and commercial establishments of the area to go forward with the initiative.
“Apart from these roads there are suggestions of implementing the ‘Clean Air Street’ in Avenue road, Malleshwaram 8th cross and other roads, but this needs time, since we have to consult the public and prepare designs accordingly. There are processes to be followed which includes public consultations and other protocols before we start working on it,” Manjula explained.
Starting from November 7, DULT closed traffic on Church Street during weekends for five months. According to DULT, the aim is to prioritise clean mobility and demonstrate the positive impact of streets focused on people and sustainable behaviours. The initiative will also provide the opportunity to trial and refine street designs and create a blueprint for other streets across Bengaluru.
Throughout the duration of the ‘Clean Air Street’, the DULT has proposed to engage with all street users like businesses, shoppers, travellers and residents to understand the social, economic and environmental impact of pedestrianisation and according to officials, this will ensure future urban policies are implemented in a way that works for all parties.
Meanwhile, the Shop Owners’ Association in Church Street said after the footfalls increased in the first two weeks of traffic ban. ” During the first two week of the traffic ban rule, the footfall increased as people enjoyed weekend walks but we witnessed a slight dip after festival season ended. Hence, the DULT should plan more programmes in the demonstration area of the street to attract more people,” said Deepak Batavia, president, Church Street Shop Owners’ Association.
“The restaurants, pubs and book shops on the street are seeing a good number of customers after the launch of this initiative,” Batavia added.
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