Vehicular movement to Connaught Place will be restricted this Sunday and Monday as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) plans to execute its pedestrianisation plan in the shopping hub.
The NDMC has tweaked its earlier plan, which was to make the inner circle completely car-free, to focus on pedestrianising the blocks but giving access to all parking lots in the inner and outer circles to car users, a senior official said.
President of the New Delhi Traders’ Association Atul Bhargava said as per the fresh plan discussed with them by officials, vehicles will be given entry only through Janpath to inner circle, and from there they can access all parking lots. The exit will only be through Baba Kharak Singh Marg. Other entry and exit routes will be blocked for cars.
As a result, Bhargava said, the stretch from A to F blocks will be vehicle-free. He said this plan could be called pedestrian-friendly but not vehicle-free. NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar said the revised plan is at a discussion stage and final approval will be given Wednesday. He said the earlier plan, which was to make CP completely vehicle-free, has now been tweaked after incorporating suggestions of traders and other stakeholders.
“On a pilot basis, the NDMC will carry out the project this Sunday and Monday,” he said. This is the third time the NDMC has given a push to this project. In 2017, too, the civic body had planned to start a three-month trial from February to April but could not execute it after opposition from traders.
Traders had then said that closing vehicular movement in the inner circle will choke the outer circle even further, and vehicles queuing up for entry into the limited parking lots will spill to the radial roads. They also feared losing out on business. The concept of a car-free zone has been implemented in cities such as London, Montreal and Copenhagen.
“In other countries it has been noticed that car-free zones invite more people as the area becomes more lively… In the long run, it would have meant more business for them. But now that they are ready for this, we think we will be able to make the push gradually if they see good results of a pedestrian-friendly market,” an official said.