A key junction, Shankar Chowk has no infra for walkers, subway work held up

  • | Monday | 27th November, 2023

Gurgaon: Gateway to the citys commercial hub and an intersection traversed by thousands every day, Shankar Chowk on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway still does not have footpaths or any other permanent infrastructure to make pedestrian crossings safer.The death of a 22-year-old employee of an Ambience Mall eatery, who was run over by a car while trying to cross the junction last week, once again underscores the need to prioritise pedestrian safety.After the accident, authorities earmarked a lane with traffic signals and a zebra crossing to help people cross from Cyber City and Udyog Vihar to the other side. But this is a temporary measure.Data recorded by the district road safety committee says 39 accidents were reported at the chowk between 2017 and 2022. Seventeen people died in these crashes, among them four pedestrians.Harsheen Kaur, who lives in Delhis Vasant Kunj and travels to Udyog Vihar-5 for work, told TOI she has had a close shave more than once while crossing the intersection on foot. It has become a challenging task to cross this road after getting down from a bus at Shankar Chowk. It is scary and at times, I have resorted to taking an autorickshaw just to cross the stretch. I cant do that every time because it isnt pocket friendly. Something needs to be done, she said on Thursday.Since 2017, the district administration has made several plans to build pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, but it was only last year that a subway proposal was finalised.Work on the 100-metre subway crossing the highway began in February this year, but it has been held up for the past few months due to resistance from the residents of a nearby society who want the location of its entrance changed.An official of the DLF Foundation, which is building the Rs 25-crore subway, said they are trying to reach an agreement with the residents. We are trying to address their concern about pedestrian traffic in front of the society. We have proposed to make an additional provision of railings for their safety, the official said.Apart from that, a sewer line and trees falling in the alignment of the structure need to be cleared as well. It will take at least a year to complete the work provided that all the hurdles are removed soon, the official added.GMDA is also planning another pedestrian subway between the Cyber City rapid metro station and the income tax office at Shankar Chowk. We will be engaging a consultant soon to prepare a detailed project report, an authority official said. But experts believe that authorities should focus on providing at-grade pedestrian crossings, those on the road surface, such as zebra crossings and pedestrian traffic lights. Around 20,000-25,000 people cross this junction daily and it is among the busiest in the city due to its proximity to Udyog Vihar and Cyber Hub. While the elevated section can be treated as the highway, the lower section should be treated as an urban street with proper traffic arrangement. Infrastructure such as foot-overbridge and subways are welcome, but their accessibility and utility are always a concern, said Sarika Panda Bhatt, a road safety and mobility expert.

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