Four of the busiest areas in south Mumbai — Churchgate station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Flora Fountain and Nariman point — will soon be connected by a seamless pedestrian walkway.
The walkway, which will be a combination of surface routes and sunken alleys, will come as a boon for the thousands of commuters walking across these areas every day, considerably reducing the time taken to go from one point to another.
The empowered committee of the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit, (MTSU), headed by chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, decided upon this pedestrian area-linking plan in a meeting on Wednesday.
“We saw two presentations on the linkage and asked for more details on the plan. The traffic commissioner has been asked to study the plans and give his input, for which we have set a three week deadline,” said Narinday Nayar, chairman, Bombay First and member of the empowered committee.
The walkways will be dedicated pedestrian routes, free of hawkers and traffic signals. The routes will join at Azad maidan, Cross maidan and Oval maidan.
Three existing pedestrian paths on them will be used as crossovers, ensuring that greenery and other facilities on these maidans are not affected.
PK Das, the architect who put forth one of the proposals on the walkways, clarified that this plan is different from the one of beautifying and clubbing maidans and creating subways for people to walk.
The earlier proposal of linking maidans was discussed at the empowered committee meeting in May 2011 and saw huge opposition from environment activists and south Mumbai residents, saying it would destroy the beauty of the playgrounds.
The sunken routes on the walkways will be decided upon after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation studies the utilities below the road, like electricity and telephone cables, drainage pipes, and optical fibres.
According to Nayar, the transport commissioner will do a cost analysis of the project and see how the walkways can be constructed in a way, which causes minimal interference to traffic.
BMC said that the 100-year old utilities below the ground would be a hurdle for any underground concept.