“We never used to walk here during our lunch hour, but now my three colleagues and I come every day as the stretch has become more aesthetic with colorful benches, artifacts, walkways and greenery,” said Shirin, who works at India Habitat Centre. She was referring to a 500-meter stretch of Lodhi Road that is being redeveloped as part of the Delhi government’s urban landscaping project.
Under its ambitious plan to give Delhi’s roads a European makeover, the Public Works Department (PWD) has selected seven busiest and most congested roads on a pilot basis for redevelopment in 2019. In 2021, Nine more sample sections were selected.
The Indian Express visited five of the 16 legs: Lodhi Road IHC signal to Air Force Bal Bharati School (500m); Road number 43 Pitampura West Enclave to Haryana Maitri Bhawan (3 km); Moti Bagh to Mayapuri (8.5 km); Aurobindo Marg (500m); Shantivan-Rajghat (500m), and took stock of the ground situation.
On the Lodhi Road section, the work is almost finished and it is expected to be inaugurated by Diwali. It has been given an artistic theme with modern sculptures and artifacts. Directly opposite the IHC, the PWD also installed steel boards with images and information on famous personalities: Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, theater legend Ebrahim Alkazi, painter Amrita Shergill, Kathak pioneer Birju Maharaj, and classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj, the American architect Joseph Allen Stein. and Padma Vibhushan Teejan Bai.
In addition, the stretch also features pergola sheds with decorative lights, granite paver floors, red sandstone bollards, benches, and restrooms. The PWD has also set up a car park every 25 meters on the section, with capacity for three cars.
“The work is almost complete…The expected completion date was October 10, but the final finishing work will be done in a week,” said Ram Prasad Tiwari, an assistant civil engineer on site. Authorities also said that pedestrian direction boards have been installed.
On the Shantivan stretch, PWD has given a natural floral theme by planting colorful, seasonal plants on both sides of the road and the center shoulder. “We are planting seasonal plants such as Ficus Panda, Ficus Starlight, snake plant, Alpinia, Marchantia, Chinese palm, Areca palm, red, black and maroon flowers. The plants have been transported from Andhra Pradesh, Pune and Odisha…” said Vipin Jadhav, site engineer.
He said that in the central border, the department is creating multi-colored flower beds with white, black and maroon flowers. He will also sport a globe statue. In addition, the drainage line is also being rehabilitated throughout the section. The section has three lanes for cycling, pedestrians and parking.
On the 8.5 km stretch of Moti Bagh, the longest to be redeveloped, the PWD completed a portion from Gurdwara Moti Bagh Sahib to Moti Bagh metro station. It is also one of the busiest stretches surrounded by government offices and residential areas. Here, the department has used an ‘entertainment; theme with open spaces to walk, sit, bike and relax. From its earlier ‘desert’ look, it now sports high-tech automatic LED lights on the curbs and sidewalks. An ‘entertainment’ plaza has also been created with musical loudspeakers and other public equipment to liven up the section.
Said a senior official: “People are visiting this stretch in great numbers. Due to the clean and accessible trails and seating area, people come at night to take a walk, sit back and relax. In addition, plants, different types of light poles, WiFi, CCTV and pedestrian signage with Braille installations are being developed.”
Next, the Indian Express took a drive along road number 43 in Pitampura, which is surrounded by a university, hospital and residential areas, and discovered that the broken paths and damaged roads had been replaced by plants, bushes, chairs and benches with geometric shapes, even roads. , segregated space for bus queue shelters, and pedestrian and cycle paths.
Taranjit Kaur, a Keshav Mahavidyalaya student who was taking a selfie with her friend at a ‘Dil walon ki dilli’ grass statue, said: “When I entered university, the roads were good, but not like now. It used to be crowded, with cars and electric rickshaws parked everywhere and no room for pedestrians to walk or sit. Now, it is fully developed. After college, we sit here and take selfies.”
Shivani, another student, said, “I come from Budh Vihar, near Mangolpuri, and we don’t have that well-developed roads there… I feel that all roads should be remodeled like this, so that both pedestrians and travelers can have a seamless travel experience. problems. ”
While the stretch also has ambulance parking outside Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, it was overrun by street vendors and food stalls.
For the maintenance of these stretches and to prevent theft, the PWD plans to hire contractors and security guards. “These sections are of European standards and have different elements/surfaces. For its maintenance, professional labor and high-end machinery are used,” the officials pointed out.
The PWD also has plans to install charging points for electric vehicles on these stretches.
Authorities said work began in 2019 and the goal was to complete it within a year, but Covid and lack of funds delayed the project. “However, it is now on its way and nearing completion. We have already released several portions of these sample sections for public use. Diwali will complete nine sample spans and open them by the end of October,” said a senior PWD official overseeing the urban landscaping project.
Once completed, they will be inspected by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the best design will be selected to replicate on other roads. The government plans to renovate 500 km of roads to European standards throughout Delhi.