Home to popular publishing houses Nirali and Manali, jewellery shops and food stalls, Laxmi Road is not only one of the longest commercial streets in the city, but also among the busiest -- a place where traffic is nothing less than a nightmare.
Now, with an attempt to solve the traffic woes while retaining the street’s unique identity and aesthetics, around 23 students from a city college have come up with a unique development plan, which is currently on display at the Vishrambaag Wada. The plan, a series of sketches, diagrams and maps, aims to create awareness among Punekars on how to preserve this street bazaar and develop it in all ways possible.
The contents of the exhibition were created by students from Padmabhushan Vasantdada Patil (PVP) College of Architecture after they studied parts of Laxmi Road in groups and analysed the major issues of the street that snakes through the older and seedier parts of the city. The exhibition focuses on some of the solutions that the group came up with.
“As part of our academic year project, we studied the Laxmi Road right from the Belbaug Chowk to Alka Theatre, as well as Kelkar Road and Kumthekar Road. We studied the entire triangle while also including hawkers and other stake holders in it. In our plan, most of the things will remain the same but the traffic will improve for sure,” says the project’s student co-ordinatorAshik Jain.
The development plan prepared by the students has also been presented to the Pune Municipal Corporation, and it’s being exhibited to gauge people’s reactions and get suggestions, if any. Since the overall width of Laxmi Road is around14-18 metres, the best option, the plan suggests, is to free the street from any type of parking. It also suggests wide footpaths and a one-lane road open only for public transport. An expensive proposition that the students suggested was a basement parking plan for two and four-wheelers.
“Laxmi Road lies at the core of the city and has a unique association with the Peths of Pune. It is a street bazaar. So, our plan is to revitalise Laxmi Road as a commercial street while keeping its aesthetics and identity intact. We have taken into consideration that Pune is a city of peths, wadas and temples,” adds Jain.
Even the traders seemed to have liked the students’ proposal. Rahul Bora, President of Traders Association, Laxmi Road, says that they will be supporting the students in the redevelopment project. “Even we want the traffic to be diversified on the road as that will help us as well as our customers. These students have come up with a good plan and we hope it is implemented soon,” he adds.