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Street for people, not cars

Walkability, universal accessibility, a cycle friendly lane, hawker and vendor policy, public transport, organized parking, public realm and technology – these were some of the design interventions suggested by Ar. Prasanna Desai (Prasanna Desai Architects), Pune, India, to the Pune Municipal Corporation. That is how the beautification of ITI Road began, in Aundh, Pune. A minimal intervention was suggested to evolve the street into a people’s plaza.

All the trees were saved and conserved. Disposable waste was segregated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable. The second phase of the project was aimed at spreading awareness to create a pedestrian-friendly and cycle-friendly realm and to establish that streets are for people and should be designed around them.

How this was achieved

A single level was maintained throughout the entire stretch of the pedestrian walkway while cars were made to traverse through different levels at entry and exits. Parking was provided on both sides and seating spaces were built around trees. Design strategies also consisted of an underground network of services such as drainage, sewage, water supply (24×7 plan), metered gas supply, MSEDCL (electricity), optical fiber cables, etc. which were implemented with a view to future network plans (with a provision for 15 to 20 years).

Tactile paths for the visually impaired and wheel chair accessibility through bollards formed part of the design paradigm. Dustbins were provided at intervals of 50 m on both sides. All the required signage was planned and executed as per I.R.C. guidelines that made the street user-friendly and well-functioning.

Pedestrian crossings regulated the speed of vehicles on this stretch, which made it possible to include a painted cycle lane on the street. The cycle lane has been proposed as a part of M.V. Lane on both sides, encouraging the safety of cyclists by defining their right of way, equivalent to the concept of a zebra crossing. A parking lane has been designed as a buffer space to tackle the conflict between parking cars and cyclists.

A two-meter-wide parallel parking finished with paver blocks, is proposed. Medium-sized trees are treated with tree grates so as to conserve them and to increase the effective area of public walkway. The side facing the road has been chamfered to prevent people from sitting there. A green median has been proposed and executed with a central chain link to eliminate wastage of space and to ease the flow of vehicles.