Finally, there is hope of some space for city's pedestrians

URL: paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Finally, there is hope of some space for city’s pedestrians

LIKE TIMES SQUARE Civic body wants to create vehicle-free zones after a recent study showed that more than half of Mumbai’s total commute is on foot

MUMBAI: You may be able to saunter through several localities, eat at roadside cafés and do window shopping in Mumbai without worrying about impatient drivers, honking cars and accidents.

Taking a cue from New York, which recently inaugurated its revamped pedestrian-only Times Square, the civic body is considering creating permanent pedestrian-only zones in the city.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to conduct studies to determine the feasibility of pedestrian-only zones.

Motorised transport will not be allowed in such demarcated zones, and people will have to choose between walking and using non-motorised options such as bicycles and segways.

In a city where transportation policies have been criticised for favouring motorists, pedestrian plazas hint at a shift in policy-making. A few days ago, HT had reported on experts, part of a BMC-appointed think-tank to deal with traffic issues, urging the civic body to prioritise pedestrianisation.

A recent study by the BMC’s development plan department revealed that 51% of the commute made in the city is by foot. And 60% of the total commute made each day start and end as walk trips, the report added. This, despite the fact that only a few areas in the city have pavements, most of which are maintained poorly.

The BMC appears t o be considering changing its attitude now. “Pedestrianisation as a concept has not featured in the city’s policies so f ar. As a result, making the city pedestrian-friendly has never been high on the priority list,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.

Srinivas said the BMC is actively considering converting some areas into pedestrian-only zones. “We are beginning feasibility studies to shortlist the areas. Our plans and policies will be based on the results,” he said.

 

In 2009, the BMC had mooted the idea of converting the Crawford Market precinct into a pedestrian plaza, but the plan sank without a trace. Last year, the Empowered Committee on Mumbai makeover suggested creating a museum plaza, linking Kala Ghoda to Regal chowk, and making this road car-free. This proposal too has so f ar remained only on paper.

Date of Article: 
Monday, January 6, 2014
Source: 
The Hindustan Times