ICLEI South Asia, under the project Supporting Smart Urban Mobility and Built Environment, supported by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, carried out a pilot experimentation of the Pedestrianisation Plan in the Walled city area in Udaipur.
The walled city, which not so long ago was reeling under the glory of its rich past, is now facing the harsh realities of crumbling infrastructure and serious traffic and transport problems. The inner city core, especially the streets leading to Jagdish Chowk is severely impacted by the frequent traffic congestions and experiences a heavy traffic load throughout the day. The traffic problems escalate during peak tourist season, as a majority of important tourists destinations are situated within the inner city core (including the world famous City Palace Complex and Pichola lake). There is also a high concentration of hotels in the inner city core thereby compounding traffic woes.
In the absence of any pedestrian or bicycle infrastructure, there is always a constant tussle between motorists and pedestrians to use the limited Right of Way, which more often than not results in conflict between these two road users.
In this context, a joint decision was made by city authorities (Municipal Corporation of Udaipur and Traffic Police) to make the streets of the walled city cleaner, safer, and more attractive. They approached ICLEI- South Asia in May 2017, to technically assist them in not only improving the traffic conditions within the walled city but also in building visually compelling streets. The city authorities with ICLEI’s support intend to create more a pleasant and profitable urban environment in one of the most beautiful parts of the city. This will include, restricting the entry of cars and other heavy vehicles on selected streets, complete pedestrianisation of selected streets along with the introduction of non-motorized transport and environmentally friendly vehicles (e-rickshaws, bicycles) to ply the narrow streets.
To deal with the issue of choked streets, the project team from ICLEI recommended that a city focused, phase wise “pedestrianisation plan” should be developed, which will be based on a detailed study and analysis of selected road stretches within the walled city. The detailed plan and the phase wise implementation plan were presented and discussed with city authorities and other stakeholders in July to gain their consent and views. A joint inspection of the identified routes and the existing supporting infrastructure was made by the project team along with senior officials of the Corporation, Traffic Police and the local councilors.
The road stretch from Rangniwas Chowk to Jagdish Chowk upto the City Palace Complex was selected as the pilot route, mainly due to the availability of off- street parking lots within the proximity and availability of limited numbers of e-rickshaws. It was decided to operate 25 e-rickshaws (12 under CapaCITES and 13 of Namasteji’s- e-rickshaw operator under smart city project) on the pilot route for ferrying of passengers from the parking lot to Jagdish Chowk. Instructions were given to all the concerned officials to complete the pending work on the parking lots. The pilot implementation of pedestrianisation plan was initiated on the 4th of August from Rangniwas Chowk to Jagdish Chowk upto the City Palace Complex, after putting in place minimal and necessary infrastructure (barricades, signage etc.). Traffic personnel and home guards were deputed on site for managing the traffic and parking lot respectively and tourist vehicles are now being diverted to the identified parking lots and from there on are ferried in e-rickshaws. The charges for parking and e-rickshaws were mutually decided upon by the Commissioner and Mayor and are fixed at Rs. 5/- and Rs. 10/- for 2 and 4 wheelers parking respectively for every 3 hours while Rs. 5/- per person per trip were fixed as e-rickshaw charges.
Pilot Implementation of Pedestrianisation Plan- Day 1- 4th Aug 2017
Media coverage of the pilot implementation of pedestrianisation plan can be accessed here.