If Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has his way, the traffic congestion afflicting the city’s 1.7 crore population will be a thing of the past.
On Tuesday, Chavan asked the Urban Development Department (UDD), which handles city planning, to chart out a plan to decongest the city’s choked overflowing roads and make space for its increasing crush of vehicles.
Mumbai has eight lakh cars – five lakh officially registered in the city, three lakh registered outside the city, and 60,000 new cars added every year. Chavan asked for a pilot project, which will study one particular congested road, and apply the learning to the rest of the city.
Chavan took this decision after a meeting with the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia, Enrique Penalosa, who is an urban planning expert.
Penalosa made a presentation at the meeting chaired by Chavan and attended by TC Benjamin and Manu Srivasatava, both UDD secretaries, and Shriya Gadipalli, senior programme director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Penasola said that by 2060, Maharashtra will be 75 per cent urbanised and transportation should be planned accordingly. He also stressed the importance of dedicated lanes for different modes of transport and the need to improve the quality of footpaths and road crossings.
‘The congestion plan for Mumbai will consider all these aspects. And public opinion should be taken, we should have open discussions with them,” Chavan told officials.
Transport expert Ashok Datar said : “It is a good start. I only hope when public opinion is taken, it is from across the spectrum – from people using cars, public transport, even walkers.”