The next time you sit cursing in a traffic jam, think about this. When, in March 2013, the transport department last counted, there were 22.15 lakh vehicles on our roads.
Vehicles heading towards the suburbs get stuck in traffic jams every evening on this stretch of SV road in Bandra. (HT Photo)
Every day, 350 vehicles are added to that number. The figure is 800 for the Mumbai metropolitan region, a fact worth noting because a significant number of vehicles from Thane and Navi Mumbai come to Mumbai every day.
If you are so inclined, do the maths. Calculate just how many vehicles are on our streets when you step out of home this morning. Consider also the fact that we have only 1950 km of roads for these vehicles to ply on.
You don’t need to be a wizard to figure out why things have come to such a pass, why Mumbai’s congested roads are one of our worst nightmares.
Of course, it is neither only the number of vehicles nor the lack of road space. There are unregulated hawkers; flawed infrastructure; drivers who do not heed rules; pedestrians who flout whichever rule that comes their way; and a myriad other problems that disfigure our lives as commuters on this city’s streets.
Starting today, Hindustan Times begins ‘Unclog Mumbai’, yet another big-ticket campaign to make a difference to your lives. We shall pick up stretches in the city which are especially arduous to be on. We shall investigate why they are so. We shall, in conjunction with urban planners and experts, offer solutions. We shall go to the authorities on your behalf and seek to have solutions implemented.
Merely the authorities can’t help. You can. Tell us your stories. Let us know if you have any solutions. Follow yourselves the tips that experts offer you. A series of little changes can sometimes change a great deal.
This is your paper. This is your city. Raise your voice. We shall make sure that you are heard. Let us do this together. Let us reclaim Mumbai.