Cars and buses will not be allowed into Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi, for three months starting February. The ban will be part of a pilot Smart City project that will be launched next month and will aim at reducing pollution and congestion in the area.
As part of the project, the inner and middle circles of Connaught Place — the imposing commercial area built by Edwin Lutyens in 1933 — will be barred to traffic.
‘Park and ride’ services on cycles and battery operated vehicles will be offered from the surrounding parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika parking. The total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 and only 1,088 vehicles are parked on an average, the police said.
The Ministry of Urban Development said the three-month “pedestrianisation” of the area — which has some of the city’s most recognisable heritage structures — will test the effects on traffic, management of reclaimed parking lots, and record the experience of the pedestrians and shop owners.
At a meeting today to discuss the Smart City Project, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu also discussed the possibility of landscaping, developing water bodies, side walk cafes, public plazas, holding light and sound shows and street festivals.
The minister said the vehicle ban is meant to offer a “congestion free, accident free and crime free” experience to visitors.
The Smart City project was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last June, under which 20 cities were picked in the first phase for holistic and integrated urban development.