Whenever Mohammed Ali Road resident Fatema* steps out of her building, she has to manoeuvre around at least a dozen bikes and scooters parked on the narrow pavement before she can get to the edge of the main road, where most pedestrians here tend to walk.
Fatema admits that these two-wheelers, parked by residents of the area, are a hindrance for pedestrians, but she is in no position to complain. She parks her own scooter on the pavement, instead of using the BMC's pay-and-park service under the JJ flyover.
"In the paid parking lot, two-wheelers are given space only behind cars, making it difficult to access. Also, parking attendants ask us to leave our handle locks unlocked so they can move our vehicles to let others squeeze in. Bikes have been stolen because of this," says Fatema, who finds the pavement a safer option.
The pavements of Mohammed Ali road, however, are not the only ones in the city encroached upon by obstructions such as unauthorised parking, shanties and street dwellers.
In Kandivli (East), shopkeepers and auto-drivers park their vehicles on sloping pavements meant for pedestrians. On Mahim's Tulsi Pipe Road and Grant Road's Fores Road, footpaths have been home to communities of cane basket weavers and flower sellers for decades, once again compelling pedestrians to step off the kerb and walk on the bustling, dangerous main roads.
The civic body does not have an estimate of how many Mumbai roads have been encroached upon, but a survey of Fort area conducted by thinktank Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) suggests that at least 34% of your footpaths have been obstructed by slums and street-dwellers alone.
"In Fort, 68 of 196 pavements are obstructed by shanties and street dwellers. This could serve as a yardstick for calculating the obstruction in the rest of the city," said Deepali Mody, director of the research fellowship programme at UDRI.
(* Last name withheld on request)