The Goregaon-Malad belt is a mess, that is bad news. However, the good news is all is not lost, and if authorities focus on improving the existing infrastructure, the stretch can transform itself to become a boon for the city’s commuters.
According to transport experts Prasad Shetty, faculty member at School of Environment and Architecture and Madhav Pai, director of EMBARQ India, redesigning the existing roads and improving the public transport system will provide tremendous relief for those travelling daily on this route. The belt, considered to be the city’s newest business hub, is in a bad shape because of the unplanned development that has taken place on what was once industrial land. Both experts agree a few proactive steps by authorities can bring a sea change in the area.
Currently, anyone commuting to this belt — from Inorbit Mall in Malad (West) to Kotak-Infinity Park in Goregaon (East) — is caught in traffic at major junctions.
Take for example, Chincholi Bunder, Inorbit Mall junction, MTNL junction and Oberoi Mall junctions which witness traffic congestion especially during the peak hours, mainly due poor state of the road.
“These roads are narrow and encroached upon, therefore there is less space for cars. Authorities should take strict action to make the roads wide and free of encroachment,” said Shetty.
The routes connecting various business areas on this stretch to the nearest railway stations do not have proper public transport connectivity. According to Pai, transportation was not the focus when Mindspace, a business hub in Malad, was planned. “Despite constructing such a big business hub, there is no place for buses to station themselves,” Pai said.
Pai also calls for massive improvement of both Goregaon as well as Malad railway stations, which are chaotic almost throughout the day. “We need to construct multi modal stations, which can accommodate buses and autorickshaws,” he said. There should be proper public transport connectivity between business hubs and the nearest railway stations, said the experts. The experts also suggested introducing a dedicated bus lane system, which will shorten the travel time for commuters between the railway stations and their offices.
Shetty said a Metro line is also needed. In addition, there are several junctions on the road that connect Goregaon (East) and Malad (West) that cause several traffic jams. Experts suggested constructing underpasses and flyovers at these junctions to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
Pai said all the roads need to be redesigned again. “We need to first remove all the major encroachments on the roads and footpaths,” said Pai, who also demanded strict action against illegal on-road parking, which takes up a major chunk of the road. Experts also stressed on improving pedestrian facilities so people are not forced to walk on the road and obstruct traffic. “The pavements are in a bad condition so pedestrians. At certain places, pavements do not exist. Authorities need to look into this and also think about constructing skywalks,” Shetty said.