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Mumbai’s traffic menace: HC says restrict cars per family

A Bombay high court bench, hearing petition on the lack of space for parkin g vehicles in Mumbai, asked the agencies responsible to come up with a holistic plan to decongest Mumbai’s roads

mumbai Updated: Sep 28, 2016 00:09 IST
Ayesha Arvind
Commuters dodge potholes on a stretch of the Western Express Highway near Dahisar.
Commuters dodge potholes on a stretch of the Western Express Highway near Dahisar. (Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

Considering Mumbai’s nightmarish traffic congestion, it is perhaps time for the state to restrict “the number of cars per family” and moving some of the traffic off the road, to “water”.

“There was a time about a decade ago, when one could commute between Dadar and South Bombay (sic) in just 20 minutes. Doing so is unimaginable now. It takes three hours to travel from Juhu to the Airport at Santacruz. And the stretch between Borivli and Bandra has turned into the biggest traffic fiasco,” said a bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Swapna Joshi, while hearing a public interest litigation on the lack of space for parkin g vehicles in the city.

The bench asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the state Urban Development Ministry and the traffic police department to sit together and come up with a holistic policy to decongest the city’s roads.

“Unauthorised parking due to lack of space is a very serious problem in Mumbai and is the cause of much traffic congestion. Every household now has more than one vehicle. We are told around 1,000 to 1,300 new vehicles get registered by the RTO each day. A large number of private vehicles enter the city every morning and leave in the evenings, but these have no space for parking through the day. The government cannot sit on the problem anymore,” the bench said.

Iinland water transport may be just what the “city needs” to ensure faster commute, the bench went on to say, but added, “Of course, you must assess all security issues first.” It asked the government to inform the court of the proposal’s feasibility by the next date of hearing.

It also asked the BMC if it was willing to revoke the ban imposed on parking vehicles under flyovers in the city. The petitioners had sought the ban on parking under flyovers be lifted so the idle space can be utilised and some respite from traffic congestion is achieved.

In the last hearing, the BMC had opposed the proposal saying it had assessed a security threat and had stopped allowing parking under flyovers. The bench, however, dismissed the argument saying in current times, “nothing was immune to security threats,” and that the state must take steps to assuage these threats.