The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has approved the draft policy for ‘enhancing walkability’ considering it as a major impetus to pedestrian infrastructure. It is an attempt to channelize its ever-increasing vehicular traffic, encouraging pedestrianization of roads.

Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal chaired the meeting for draft approval being prepared by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the advisory body for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The ‘enhancing walkability’ initiative for Delhi finds its inspiration from the Chennai ‘walkability plan’. The effort might ensure more people walking across the city for commutation.

Stakeholders have raised that the design should be developed under Delhi’s climate and cultural traces to provide a vernacular look to the city. Also, Delhi faces extreme winters and summers along with a considerable amount of rains. Therefore, the designers need to be thoughtful about the local climate parameters and design accordingly whether they are walking for leisure, shopping, commute or health reasons.

Through the policy, DDA attempts to identify encroachment of areas and work for their removal. They also seek to ensure the plantation of trees for shading along with installing street furniture and signages. For an experimental basis, they have identified various sites around the city under this initiative including the Old and New Delhi railway station, Chandni Chowk, ITO junction, North and South campus of the Delhi University, Nehru Place and Karol Bagh.

The policy seeks to strengthen those areas of the city where pedestrian infrastructure is insufficient or unavailable. The draft provides the provision for pelican crossings at intersection areas to cater to children and elderly. The coalition of pedestrian networks with the existing public places, green areas and open spaces will also be a significant part of the initiative. The proposal provides for setting up street furniture such as benches, dustbins, street lights, signages along with distribution and allocation of public utilities.

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