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There is a way, but is there will?

Experts who visited this stretch with HT say the solution lies in disciplining the flow of traffic and getting the basic traffic rules right

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2013 08:40 IST
Saurabh Kathkarwar

It’s not an impossible task to ease traffic flow along the two-km Mahim-Bandra stretch on SV Road. If basic traffic rules are implemented, a few disciplinary steps are taken and amenities improved, traffic congestion can be resolved to a large extent, say experts.

The stretch is used by people travelling towards Bandra and the western suburbs through SV Road as well as the Western Express Highway and by those going towards Bandra Kurla Complex, central Mumbai and the central suburbs.

It takes anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes to cross this two-km stretch during peak hours.

The congestion also affects traffic in internal roads in Bandra, Khar, Mahim and on Tulsi Pipe Road.

In the Monday edition, in ‘The crawl to Bandra and back’, HT focused on the problems commuters face on this stretch. Here, we look at possible solutions.

While the proposed coastal road is being touted as a long-term solution, it is at the planning stage.

Transport experts from a people’s initiative, Mumbai Transport Forum (MTF), who visited the spot with HT, said proper implementation of basic traffic rules, a few changes to the existing traffic pattern and some initiative by the civic body can reduce traffic congestion.

The road does not have proper signages and lanes are not marked, said transport expert Rishi Aggarwal. “Due to lack of signage and markings of lanes on the road, motorists can’t figure out where they are supposed to stop at signals.

Pedestrians cross the road at several spots no matter whether the signal is red or green. Authorities should take care of basic rules and measures required for proper navigation of traffic,” he said. “Uneven paver blocks and manholes also slow down vehicles.”

Vijayshree Pednekar, MTF co-ordinator, said parking and hawkers have worsened the problem. “Because of unregulated parking, one lane each on both sides of the road gets blocked. And as footpaths are occupied by hawkers, pedestrians have no option but to walk on the road, which further slows down traffic,” Pednekar said.

Ashok Datar, convener of MTF, said the traffic police need to assign more personnel to manage traffic on this stretch.

“Regulation of traffic flow and adherence to traffic rules are must. The state does not have enough staff. Instead of 27,000 police officials protecting politicians and bureaucrats, some should be utilised to regulate traffic,” said Datar.

KG Kharat, assistant police commissioner (traffic), said the traffic police are working on a plan to reduce congestion on this stretch of SV Road.

“We have widened the road as much as possible. Unregulated parking and hawkers lead to jams, but it is difficult to address these issues because of political pressure,” said a civic official, requesting anonymity.