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Madrid going car-free could trigger a global trend for pedestrian friendly cities

As part of smart city project, the government last week announced that the middle and inner circle roads of Delhi’s Connaught Place will be made vehicle-free for three months starting from February.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 8, 2017 6:33:48 pm
Connaught Place, madrid, car-free, no vehicle, pedestrian friendly, Connaught Place car free Connaught Place. (Source: Express Archive)

The government’s move to make middle and inner circle roads of Delhi’s Connaught Place vehicle-free seems to be inspired from Madrid’s mayor Manuela Carmena’s decision to kick personal cars off the road in the city center. During a radio show in November last year, Carmena had confirmed that Madrid’s main avenue, the Gran Vía, will only allow access to bikes, buses, and taxis before she leaves office in May 2019. The main goal behind the move is to fight Madrid’s rising pollution.

Carmena’s decision is part of a growing global trend to make city streets more pedestrian-friendly. Oslo, Hamburg, Paris, and Mexico City are also working toward similar car bans. And India is not far behind.

As part of smart city project, the government last week announced that the middle and inner circle roads of Delhi’s Connaught Place will be made vehicle-free for three months starting from February. Officials said that vehicular traffic will be barred on these roads to facilitate the move of pedestrians in the area which is known as heart of the national capital.

According to experts, car-free Connaught Place will not only reduce the immediate exposure of people to air pollution but also spell boon for traders in the area contrary to fears of a slump. In fact, similar measures worldwide have translated into a dramatic increase in sales and also rentals. CP, as the area is popularly known as, is poised to become an “open-air mall” once the decision is implemented, they opine.

NDMC and Delhi Police officials have stated that ‘pedestrianisation’ could be promoted by declaring the middle and inner circular roads of Connaught Place vehicle free by providing effective ‘park and ride’ services from major parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg Palika parking. Total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 and on an average only 1,088 vehicles are being parked. This unutilized capacity could be fully used by promoting ‘park and ride’ concept, they said.

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