After years of back and forth, the plan to makeover south Mumbai’s Fashion Street is finally set to take off in two months.
The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), a few weeks ago, gave its nod to the makeover. Since the hawkers are located within 100m of Grade 1 heritage structures — Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan — an approval from the committee was required for the project.
“As per the administration’s plan, none of the heritage structures in the locality will be harmed. We have given an in principle nod to the makeover with a few minor changes to be made,” said V Ranganathan, chairman of the committee.
The project, planned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) includes organising hawkers on the crowded arterial lane, which is prone to traffic jams.
The 383 hawkers on the street will get kiosks to help manage the space in a systematic manner and clear space on the footpath for pedestrians to walk on. The BMC also plans to fix signage and streetlights along the entire stretch. The municipal chowkies and other illegal structures obstructing the footpath will also be relocated.
The street, stretches along the pavement from Cross Maidan to Metro cinema, and is a favourite shopping haunt for the city's youth.
Vasant Prabhu, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone 1) said, “The haphazardly set up shops are obstructing the view of the open spaces, which is why we decided to take up the makeover project and organise hawkers properly. The encroachments are also creating a nuisance to the pedestrians who are forced to walk on the road.”
The plan also includes making footpaths disabled-friendly. The BMC will repair the footpath wherever necessary and put up bollards to prevent illegal parking. The vendors’ alignment is also likely to change. “They may face each other rather than all of them facing the road. This will help free up more space for pedestrian movement,” said Prabhu.