New Delhi: In a major initiative, Delhi Government has decided to redesign over 1,200 km of roads in the capital at a cost of around Rs 5,000 crore, taking cue from European cities to promote public transport, cycling and making streets friendly for pedestrians and physically- challenged people.
Under the project, street furnitures including glass lifts, toilet blocks, solar-powered streetlights and rain water harvesting system will be put in place besides keeping space for hawkers and certain roads only for public transport.
Talking about the ambitious project, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi's traffic problem is linked to flaws in design of roads rather than space problem and his government was trying to rectify them. He said designs of various roads will be different, depending on specific requirements.
PWD Minister Satyendar Jain said 10 roads have been identified for a pilot project which will be completed within a period of eight months and then all roads under Delhi Government will be redesigned.
He said government feels majority of road space have been occupied by cars across the city and that motorists constitute around 1.5 per cent of the total road users.
"Pedestrians and public transport are our major priority and if there is space left, then it will be for motorists," Jain said, in a lighter vein, when articulating government's plan for the project.
To improve public transport, Jain said, government would ensure buses at an interval of 1-2 minutes at specific localities initially.
He said major design flaws will be identified for all roads and will be rectified accordingly, while adding that building owners occupying footpaths was a major issue.
Jain said trees will not be cut for the project and machines are being bought by the PWD to shift the trees to other location if they come in way of certain infrastructure.
"We may have to keep certain roads only for public transport as is done in many other European cities. We will install street furnitures like lifts with glass panel, toilet blocks and rain water harvesting system," he said, adding vendors will be given specific time slots to sell their products.
The PWD Minister said mechanical sweeping will be introduced in all PWD roads to address the problem of dust and that people's feedback will be taken for the project.
The Chief Minister said there was a need to change people's habit to make Delhi a better city to live.
Jain said specific guidelines are being framed for road building which will have specific details like height of footpaths and width of roads. All the roads will be friendly for physically challenged people and will have rainwater harvesting facilities.
Jain said government was determined to improve public transport system and that Phase III expansion of metro will cover around 40 per cent areas.
The traffic police will be involved in the project and people's views will be taken while finalising design of each roads. He said road infrastructure in some of the European cities were studied for the project.
The PWD Minister said lifts will have glass panels to ensure security and that landscaping will form a major component of the re-designing.
The Chief Minister and PWD Minister briefed a group of media persons about the project and sought their suggestions.