The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Friday approved a policy for enhancing walkability in the city.
The agency will begin with preparing area-specific walk plans — a key component of the policy — for 22 locations.
Key features of the policy include timebound implementation of area-specific ‘walk plans’, a centralised city-wide monitoring system, a mobile application to give information about walking and a ‘walk Delhi’ coordination and monitoring committee. The policy will now be sent to the Union housing and urban affairs ministry for notification.
Walk plans will be prepared for areas such as ITO junction, all ISBTs, INA market, Karol Bagh, Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama Place among others. “We will rope in consultants to prepare a detailed walk plan for 22 locations, which will be taken up on pilot basis. This is a major step towards improving the civic infrastructure and making it pedestrian friendly,” said DDA vice-chairman Tarun Kapoor.
The policy focuses on integration of walkability into various policies and projects, using technology for preparing walking tours, providing barrier-free pathways, pelican crossings near schools and major pedestrian crossings and earmarking multi-utility zones (MUZs) to accommodate street vendors and other public activities.
Urban development experts welcomed the move but cautioned that the policy should not be limited to making pavements accessible. “Delhi is the first city in the country to have a policy for walkability. It is a step in the right direction. But its smooth implementation must be ensured. Making public spaces walkable is the essential part of urban mobility. But we need to look beyond making pavements accessible and making the streets safe by installing CCTVs. There is a need to ensure more eyes on the road, better illumination etc,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder, The Raahgiri Foundation and executive director, Nagarro.
A senior DDA official aware of the development said the walk plan will encompass a 500-metre influence zone around each location. As per the policy, “walking is the dominant mode of travel for nearly 77% of urban poor”. Mukti Advani, senior scientist at CSIR-CRRI, said, “It is a good move. But instead of stretches, areas should be taken up. There is a need to make the stretches between residential areas and transit nodes walkable. Only then people will be encouraged to walk.”
Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) may be created to ensure smooth implementation of the policy, officials say. “The Delhi Traffic Police will set up a digital surveillance and monitoring system with centralised control room to enforce pedestrian-centric rules. A ‘Walk Delhi’ coordination and monitoring committee will vet plans prepared by various agencies ,” the official said.
Jun 15, 2019 06:18 IST