Vehicle-Free Kamla Nagar- A model to follow?

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The latest efforts of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation has declared Krishna Nagar Market in Delhi as vehicle-free temporarily. The move is to decongest the area, which is caused by overcrowding of vehicles. It was preceded by a week-long trial, in order to test this pedestrian friendly model on the streets. Krishna Nagar Market is 1.25 km stretch of market, which has now been declared as a pedestrian only zone by the EDMC, denying entry to any vehicle. The plan is to work on the deficiencies that surface in the trial period and make the model permanent for the said area starting from November 15 this year. EDMC also is planning to officialyy inaugurate a multi-level parking system in the Krishna Nagar area. It is operative from 09:00 AM in the morning to 09:00 PM at night. The pending action for this plan is to choose a vendor to manage the parking slot.

The plan of pedestrianization of Kamla Nagar market forms an initiative under the umbrella directive of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’s. The directive has ordered setting up on pilot parking management plans by the three municipal corporations to.

Pedestrianisation- A welcome move?

It hopes to set an example for other city-markets to follow. On a general visit to the Krishna Nagar market, you will come across two-wheelers, mostly motor bikes skimming through the roads but absolutely no cars. The response of the general public however, is mixed to this move, aiming at decongestion of the market-place. Though the move is being welcomed by most customers as they now have a congestion free street to freely shop on, the shop keepers are highly sceptical on whether it can be implemented on a permanent basis. It might also have an adverse effect on the daily customer inflow for the small hawkers and shopkeepers. Moreover, the traffic on the adjacent streets considerably increased given that the particular lane did not allow use by vehicles.

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Enhancing the visitor access through this move, the businesses could be both positively as well as negatively impacted, the impact still unknown. A resident is of the opinion that with the ease of skimming through the streets, the market may take precedence in choice over air-conditioned high priced shopping malls. The area has become more customer-friendly attracting customers for a hassle free shopping experience. Previously the area used to over stuffed with both two wheelers as well as four-wheelers crowding the streets, not allowing the pedestrians to freely walk and explire.

One of the customers said in his remarks:

“There is space to shop and move around now, that difference is being felt. It was very congested earlier. It looks clean and the shopping experience is better too. A market should be like this. If there is a lot of congestion, people are unable to shop.”

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Implementing the vehicle free model:

A major part of the implementation process of this vehicle-free model would be for people to accept it, even if it is perfectly implemented by the executive. It might take some time for both the shop-keepers and the customers to get used to the system. The implementation process should concentrate on spreading awareness about the benefits of the system among the people trying to inculcate of freeing themselves of their vehicles and walking around the marker. As per the East Delhi Municipal Corporation [EDMC], the trial period was up till October 11. After the trial period the EDMC will work on the problems faced before looking for a permanent implementation of the model. Once the deficiencies of the system is addressed, then it will prove to be mutually beneficial for all in the long run keeping in mind the interest of the customers as well as big and small shop-keepers present around the area.

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Post the trial period of the Krishna Nagar Market, the market saw a fresh look for itself which was more convenient and organised. If pedestrianisation works for Krishna Market, should other busy market streets of Delhi look for a similar project. This surely will help the busy streets of Laxmi Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Geeta Colony.

The Kamla Nagar Market is also planning to double the parking rates for on-street parking. As per the plan, the rate for on-street parking will be increased to Rs.40 and Rs.50 for the first and second hour respectively. From the third hour to the fifth hour, the rate will cost the vehicle owner Rs. 70. The rates for over five hours will go upwards to Rs.300. This initiative should be seen as a part of the recent rules notified by the Delhi Governemnt directing municipal corporations to make on-street parking twice as expensive, rising exponentially.

 

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