How do you ensure smooth traffic flow in an area that leads to the eastern as well as western suburbs and caters to a large number of officegoers using the Central Railway, monorail and Metro?
The solution for Ghatkopar, experts say, is simple – just convert the bylanes into one-way roads and link them to the main road, so the traffic on the main road gets diverted.
Read more: Unclog Mumbai: Ghatkopar is chaos central
The ideal way of handling the situation would have been connecting the monorail and the Metro to reduce congestion on the crucial Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road and Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Marg, but the authorities missed the opportunity. So, according to experts, the focus should now be on short-term measures.
“Thanks to the lack of planning, the monorail and Metro could not be connected. Doing so would have put an end to the traffic snarls in the area. The authorities can still convert bylanes into one-way roads. Such diversion will reduce the number of vehicles on the main road,” said Jitendra Gupta, transport expert.
As the roads and footpaths in the area are in good condition, the authorities only need to focus on making them available to public.
Currently, most foothpaths are occupied by encroachers, hawkers and illegally parked vehicles. Moreover, autorickshaws take up half the road, forcing pedestrians to walk in the middle of the road, which, in turn, slows down traffic movement.
Jitesh Matalia, member of the divisional railway users’ consultative committee (DRUCC), said, “Illegal parking and errant autorickshaw drivers block the flow of traffic. The authorities need to create separate stands for autorickshaws going in different directions. They also need to initiate strict action against those flouting norms.”
Like commuters and residents, local politicians, too, feel the civic body hasn’t tackled hawkers and illegal parking well.
“We have filed several complaints against the illegal hawkers, but no action has been taken. The traffic police, too, have failed to crack down on errant autorickshaw drivers. The MG Road should be made one-way. Restricting the traffic movement will help decongest the station area,” said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda.
Chheda said the railways had stalled the permission for a rail overbridge (ROB) at Vidyavihar, which could have reduced the traffic congestion on MG road and LBS Road.
Refuting the claims, a traffic police officer said, “We conduct drives against errant autorickshaw drivers and illegal parking. The action is not consistent because we don’t have the required manpower.”
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had taken certain measures for proper dispersal of traffic at Metro stations, including Ghatkopar.
But it hasn’t changed the situation much, claim experts.
EXPERT SOLUTIONS TO DECONGEST GHATKOPAR STATION AREA
Remove hawkers and encroachment along the roads
All major roads and bylanes near the station are encroached upon by hawkers and shopkeepers. This leaves motorists with just one or two lanes
Solution: Experts say the authorities should clear encroachments and hawkers to free up the space for vehicular traffic. In addition, the civic agency should take strict measures to ensure they don’t return to the spots
Control errant autorickshaw drivers and curb illegal parking
Illegal parking on roads and indisciplined autorickshaw drivers are largely to blame for the traffic chaos outside the station
Solution: Experts suggest autorickshaws should be segregated depending on the services, share-an-auto or metered, and the direction they travel to. The traffic police should ban illegal parking. They should also take stringent action against errant autorickshaw drivers
Poor transport facility
Commuters are largely inconvenienced because of the absence of public transport services from the station to the interiors of Ghatkopar. They have little choice but to jostle for space in the crowded buses headed towards Navi Mumbai
Solution: Experts demand a ring route service for proper connectivity to all major areas in Ghatkopar. They want the monorail to be extended to Ghatkopar to reduce congestion on MG Road
Build non-motorised and public transport facilities
In the absence of footpaths, pedestrians have to walk on the roads
Solution: Experts want footpaths to be made available to pedestrians. Moreover, escalators should also be installed on the skywalks and foot overbridges. This could be of great help to senior citizens. Cycle track and cycle facilities could also be provided to promote pollution-free non-motorised transport
Too many smaller lanes intersecting the main road
There are many small lanes that intersect the roads connecting the station to LBS Road and eastern express highway. Consequently, traffic from various directions spills on to the main road
Solution: Experts say the traffic police should make these lanes one-way. Private vehicles should be banned in lanes that are close to the station
Talk to us
Do you want to pitch in with your suggestions? Write to us at email@example.com
Visit facebook.com/hindustantimes to send in your opinions. You can also log on to hindustantimes.com
Tweet your views @HTMumbai