Consider yourself lucky if you get into Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai's first planned business district, during peak hours. The catch: Once you get in, you can’t get out.
As spacious and beautiful as BKC is on the inside, the traffic congestion caused by commuters entering the area in the morning for work and exiting it in the evening remains one of the planned business hub’s biggest flaw.
Experts, who visited BKC with a Hindustan Times team said stressed on the reduction of traffic congestion at junctions at the entry/exit points of the business hub as well as improving the its connectivity through public transport.
Bandra-based architect David Cardoz, who has observed BKC’s development since its inception, said, “In all, BKC is well-planned and has wide roads. However, authorities did not focus on its connectivity with surrounding areas. Traffic congestion at junctions and on narrow and encroached roads outside BKC directly affects dispersal of traffic from the area. Authorities should ensure that entry points of BKC are wide enough and encroachment-free to ensure smooth traffic dispersal.”
While roads in BKC are hardly congested even during peak hours, entry points (junctions) at Kalanagar and Kurla get heavily congested because of the narrow roads and traffic coming from three-four major roads. Motorists driving to the business district or commuters using public transport have to spend 15-20 minutes entering or exiting the area.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has taken certain measures to decongest Kalanagar junction. However, there is a need to decongest the road from the junction to Bandra station as well.
Authorities must also focus on improving the road connecting BKC and Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, which will ensure vehicles exit directly from BKC to the city’s two highways, Cardoz said.
Transport expert Ashok Datar suggested a dedicated bus lane system as low-cost solution to deal with traffic congestion. “If dedicated bus services are introduced between BKC and the nearest railway stations, commuters can reach their office using public transport. This will ultimately reduce the number of cars on the road,” Datar said. There are buses plying on routes connecting BKC with Bandra, Kurla and Sion stations. However, their frequency is bad forcing commuters to use shared autorickshaws.
MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said, “We have planned an elevated road from Chunabhatti to BKC and two flyovers at Kalanagar junction to ease traffic congestion.” However, these projects are not likely to be ready for the next two to five years.
According to a study conducted by Datar, one can travel from the MTNL junction in BKC to Kurla station in 15 minutes as against 16 minutes by car and 24 minutes by bus. “If a proper walkway or skywalk is constructed, commuters can reach the railway station with ease,” Datar said.
BKC is also in dire need of rail connectivity. Experts said rail-based connectivity will reduce the pressure on roads and solve the area’s connectivity problem.