Unclog Mumbai: Ghatkopar is chaos central
Used by Metro, mono and CR commuters, this connecting link between eastern and western suburbs is ill-prepared to tackle trafficmumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2015 00:19 IST
At Ghatkopar railway station, the east literally meets the west. Be it the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro, Chembur to Bhakti Park monorail, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Hiranandani Business Park in Powai, Eastern Expressway or Navi Mumbai — the route to all this and more passes through the station area.
And with increased connectivity comes increased hassles. So jostling for space in the area are not just the 4.65 lakh daily passengers at the station, but also thousands of office-goers for whom Ghatkopar acts as a connector.
Suburban commuters from the east as well as the west say they spend more time reaching the station from Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Marg or Mahatama Gandhi (MG) Road than on their travel to far-off places like Kalyan or Ambernath.
“It takes me one hour to reach Ghatkopar station from Ambernath, which is approximately 30km away. But I spend the same amount of time to reach the Andheri-Ghatkopar road from the station because of traffic on the station road, MG Road and LBS Road,” said Sumit Billawa, 28, who spends four hours on his daily commute from Ambernath to Ghatkopar.
The situation is no different at Ghatkopar (East), which houses residential areas such as Pestom Sagar, Pant Nagar, Garodia Nagar, railway police colony, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and Chembur.
Those travelling towards the Eastern Expressway, Garodia Nagar, Pant Nagar and railway police colony get stuck in traffic on RB Mehta Road and AS Gawade Marg.
“Reaching the Eastern Expressway is a major challenge during peak hours, mainly because of the traffic snarls at Patel Chowk. The authorities need to manage the traffic from the east and west better to make the commute smoother. They should deploy the traffic and city police at the spot during peak hours,” said Punit Desai, 18, a student and resident of Ghatkopar (East).
Commuters want the Vidyavihar east-west rail overbridge (ROB), proposed to be built by the civic body, to be completed at the earliest, so the traffic on RB Mehta Road in Ghatkopar (East) gets diverted.
Adding to the mess are hawkers, encroachment on footpaths and roads, haphazard parking of autorickshaws and illegal parking. Clearing hawkers and autorickshaws will help pedestrians, which will, in turn, clear the way for vehicles.
Another problem that needs to be addressed is the share-an-auto services to R-city Mall and Amrut Nagar.
The autorickshaw drivers park vehicles in two or three separate queues, thus occupying almost half the space on the road and blocking Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses and other vehicles.
Commuters feel share-an-auto services should be segregated depending on the destinations, so all vehicles don’t obstruct the station gate.
“All agencies, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), railways and traffic police, should ensure the exit and entry points are not blocked by hawkers and autorickshaw drivers,” said Vishwanath Billawa, 55 Thane resident, who works in Ghatkopar (West).
STATION AREA: JAMMED AND CRAMMED
Hawkers, illegal encroachment, autorickshaw menace and unauthorised parking are the major contributors to traffic in Ghatkopar east as well as west. According to commuters, the situation has worsened of late, thanks to the inaction of the authorities concerned such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), railway officials, traffic and the city police. The Ghatkopar railway station, which caters to more than 4.65 lakh passengers daily, provides connectivity to areas such as Hiranandani in Powai and Andheri-Ghatkopar Road in the west, and the eastern expressway, Shivaji Nagar, Garodia Nagar and Pant Nagar in the east.
The station area is lined with illegal encroachers and hawkers. Finding it difficult to wade their way through the small eateries, stalls and fruit vendors sitting on the footpaths, pedestrians are left with little choice but to walk on the roads, which, in turn, slows down the traffic movement. Commuter activists and residents want the authorities to take action against the vendors, so the footpath can be reclaimed by pedestrians
Too many smaller lanes intersecting the main road
The station road has too many bylanes. So the vehicular traffic coming from these roads too spills on to the main station road. The commuters want some bylanes to be made one-way or entry of private vehicles to be restricted to the station road. In Ghatkopar (East), the residents want the entry of private vehicles to be restricted up to Patel Chowk
No public transport, lack of direct connectivity to eastern expressway and monorail
A major problem plaguing the area is the lack of public transport. Residents want a ring route bus service only for Ghatkopar. With no direct services, those wanting to go to Ghatkopar (East) have to take the buses leading to places like Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and Amrut Nagar. Traffic and poor frequency leave commuters at the mercy of autorickshaws, which adds to the problem. Commuters from other parts want a bus service in Ghatkopar (East), connecting RB Mehta Road, Valbhag lane, 90ft road, Swami Naryan Mandir, Vikrant circle, Tilak road, Dera sir lane, Gaytri Dham and to Ghatkopar station (East). The absence of a road connecting Ghatkopar (West) to eastern expressway, monorail or LBS road is another grouse. According to commuters, extending the Chembur-Bhakti Park monorail to Ghatkopar could alleviate their woes.
Lack of pedestrian facilities such as escalators on skywalk
Even as hundreds of people use the skywalks connecting to Ghatkopar (East), the authorities have failed to offer better facilities. Commuters feel installing escalators would be of great help to people, including senior citizens.
Illegal parking/auto menace
Autorickshaw drivers park their vehicles in two, three or four separate queues, thus occupying more than half the road. With very little space for Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses and other private vehicles, the traffic almost comes to a standstill. Pedestrians find it tough even to cross the road. Local activists feel setting up a police station outside the railway station could bring the situation under control. Also, there is a need to segregate the autorickshaws that run on meters from those that offer share-an-auto services.
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