'Leave the terminus alone'

Oct 15, 2016, 06:48 IST | Fiona Fernandez

Conservation architect Vikas Dilawari blasts the idea of a CST subway under DN Road

Vikas Dilawari
Vikas Dilawari

We are witnessing the slow death of the original city. Throughout the world, across its largest cities, the idea of busy roundabouts have always been defined its character, and here, we are staring at the possibility of the exact opposite.

Pedestrians must always been given first preference to walk on roads, not below it. Look at the state of our skywalks – they're hardly used by the public. The Metro cinema subway is shut for long hours, and is largely unsafe. We cannot guarantee safety of the public on our roads, how is this going to help? Art galleries and CCTVs are not going to solve problems of subways. This project, if given the go-ahead, seems like a case of sheer commercial exploitation. In the name of grandiose plans to clean CST and the like, such projects do only harm. Leave the terminus and its premise alone.

I've closely studied the plan of DN Road. It is a 15 ft-wide closed arcade, plus there's a 7x7ft open-to-sky footpath. If you remove vendors and hawkers from the footpaths, all of these concerns of crowding will be solved. Pedestrians are meant to walk on roads of a city, and not underneath it. The subway is not a feasible idea. It should be up for public hearing and discussed before taking it any further. Even if it goes ahead, care needs to be taken to ensure that no construction or drilling touches or is conducted near these heritage buildings. It will weaken these structures. Also, why wasn't any of this was mentioned in the Development Plan? We call ourselves a world heritage city, but by tabling such bizarre ideas the intent and vision are being defeated.

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