BHUBANESWAR: In its future planning for the city, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) aims to promote walking. Access to multi-modal public transport at a walking distance from any locality will be a key focus of the development plans, official sources said.
"The zonal development plans, which are currently under preparation for all the 14 zones of the city, will reflect the new road plans. The idea is to promote pedestrian oriented development and popularization of public transport so that people can simply walk to take a bus or a train," said BDA planning member Pitabasa Sahoo.
In its Bhubaneswar Town Centre Master Plan, a redevelopment plan for Master Canteen Square prepared recently and cited as a future model of development for all areas of the city, BDA proposes pedestrian pathways (haat) along the access street leading to the railway station. "It is aimed at being a walkers' delight as the wide pedestrian pathway would have enough green cover and be well lit," Sahoo.
Comfortable, direct and safe pedestrian linkages to and from all transit points will be ensured for the pedestrian pathway (haat) at the square. Along the pathway, there would be more than 150 well-designed kiosks for street vendors with pedestrian access only. Accessibility for the disabled will be a key component of the revised plan.
Master Canteen Square will have four pedestrian subways at all the four corners of the railway station-Janpath-Mahatma Gandhi Marg junction.
The government is planning redevelopment of Master Canteen Square and Ashoka Market over a 12-acre area. At present, BDA owns approximately 5.66 acres including the city bus terminal and the two parks (Nehru Park and JP Narayan Park). The remaining land is owned by either the railways or the general administration department. The government plans to redevelop the square through public private partnership mode.
Experts have welcomed the move. "Focus on pedestrian safety and promotion of using public transport instead of individual vehicles is a key area which all cities should focus on for sustainable development," said Sanjeeb Guru, a well-known architect.
Real Estate Developers Association of Odisha president Pradipta Kumar Biswasray said the redevelopment plan proposal was a welcome move. "However, everything will depend on the execution of the plan. At times there is difference between what is planned and what finally happens," he said.