LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has banned entry of all sorts of traffic from Dehli Gate to Kotwali Chowk from 8am to 8pm daily for an indefinite period, allowing public entrance to the area on foot alone.

The decision has been taken to ease mobility of the pedestrians, including many tourists visiting the newly restored buildings.

Officials say a special auto-rickshaw service inscribed/painted with Mughal art will be started at this half kilometre long and 30-foot wide main road stretch in a bid to promote tourism.

Besides this, a rent-a-cycle service (Rs50 for a couple of hours) is also being introduced so that the individual tourists could avail themselves of the facility of cycle ride, they say.

Rickshaw and cycle ride will be introduced

“Actually the narrow stretch, from Dehli Gate to Kotwali Chowk and onward, has almost become a constant point of traffic congestion causing a great deal of inconvenience to pedestrians, residents and tourists to move in a number of streets linking it. Now we have ‘pedestrianised’ this stretch,” WCLA Director (Marketing, Tourism and Culture) Asif Zaheer told Dawn on Tuesday.

He said the WCLA officials had placed barriers to stop entrance of the traffic at various places. A free-parking lot had been established outside Delhi Gate so that the residents, traders and visitors could park their vehicles outside.

He said WCLA had also approved Mughal art design to be painted on the open-air auto-rickshaws that would soon start plying on the road for tourists visiting the area restored by the authority under a pilot project of the Walled City Project’s phase-1.

“Under this project, WCLA has restored/conserved 860 properties, including 560 residential and 300 commercial buildings, situated at 57 streets of the target area,” he said.

Mr Zaheer claimed that none of the residents opposed closure of traffic on the road.

He said after restoration, a number of buildings’ facades, including main Dehli gate had also been lit up.

He requested the people to cooperate with the WCLA administration in maintaining traditional, cultural and historical beauty of the Walled City.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2014