Contrary to a popular dictum, in case of Borivli railway station, what’s on the outside matters much more than what’s on the inside. For, while the station has witnessed tremendous growth in the past 15 years, the area surrounding it remains as chaotic as ever, in the absence of pedestrian facilities and traffic management.
Borivli, which used to be a tiny village between Poisar and Dahisar rivers, has now become one of the most congested areas in north Mumbai. The proximity to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, has led to mushrooming of several colonies and housing societies and well-planned areas such as Gorai and Charkop. In tandem with the growth of the city, the railway station, too, has transformed from a suburban station on the Western Railway (WR) in the 1990s into a railway terminus with eight platforms and five foot overbridges.
“During our school days, we could easily stand outside the railway station and count the number of vehicles plying on the western express highway (WEH). One can’t imagine doing so now. Today, there’s a concrete jungle between the highway and the station,” said Haresh Joshi, a 47-year-old Borivli resident, adding there is a need to decongest the area.
Apart from those heading to south Mumbai, the commercial structures around the station area attract a large number of officegoers.
There are three major roads -- MG Road and Kasturba Road on the east, while SV Road on the west – outside the station. Despite this, traffic jam is a daily occurrence on these roads because of the uneven width and potholes. The situation only worsens during peak hours because of illegal parking and blatant flouting of traffic norms. “We have an office drop facility from Malad (West) to Borivli station, but I prefer travelling by train owing to the chaos outside the station,” said Virar resident Nilesh Dandekar.
To the east, however, the situation is better. Here, the authorities have managed to develop proper lanes with parking facility.
“Although we have a car at home, I prefer to take an autorickshaw to drop or receive a family member from our village. There is no place to park or stop the car on the west side of the station,” said Prasad Wadekar, a Gorai resident.
Most roads outside the Borivli station lack proper pavements, while the remaining are occupied by shopkeepers and hawkers. So people have to find a way amid hawkers and vehicles. On SV Road, a 1.7-km skywalk has been built parallel to the railway station, but it has been linked to only one of the FOBs.
Those stepping out of the station are greeted by autorickshaw drivers, with their vehicles parked in the middle of the road. With no bus terminus, buses, too, remain parked on the roads, thus slowing down the traffic further.
“While the east side is a bit spacious, the west is chaotic,” said Shailendra Kamble, a passenger activist. He also complained railway passengers, especially senior citizens, face a lot of trouble because of the newly built platform number seven and eight.
STATION AREA: STARTS FINE, ENDS IN A WHINE
Borivli is one of the densely populated western suburbs and has witnessed an exponential growth in population in the past few years. The suburb, situated between Dahisar and Poisar rivers, has been named after Bor trees.
It is home to some historic landmarks, including the 4th century Kanheri caves and Mandpeshwar caves.
It is one of the longest stations on the Mumbai suburban rail network with three platforms in a row on the west side of the station.
Can I get a parking slot in the area?
There is no parking facility at Borivli (West), which leaves people with little choice but to park on roads. This, in turn, slows down the flow of traffic. This problem is acute on the ever-crowded SV Road. While motorists have it tough, it gets worse for pedestrians as they have to battle traffic, vehicles as well as hawkers
Widening the horizon and the road would help
There are three major roads — SV Road on the west and MG Road and Kasturba Road on the east — outside the station. But that doesn’t alleviate commuting woes.
Reason: while some roads have six lanes, the others have two-three lanes. This creates bottlenecks.
Whose road is it anyway?
Multiple road intersections add to the traffic chaos during peak hours. Also, not every bylane has a signal. Moreover, unruly motorists add to the chaos, bringing vehicular movement to a standstill at times. Lane-cutting by bikers, too, hampers the movement of traffic.
Here, BEST too makes it worse
With no bus terminus, several BEST buses are parked on the roads at Borivli (East). This is a common sight outside the station, opposite Kasturba Marg police station and cross lanes between Kasturba Marg and MG Road, just to name a few problem areas. They manage to slow down the traffic from the western express highway to the railway, especially during peak hours.
Walkers continue to struggle, but who cares?
Whether it is to the east or the west of the station, most roads do not have pavements. In cases where the authorities have built pavements, they have been encroached upon by hawkers or shopkeepers. The railway station has two subways — one outside the station — but these, too, are not maintained well. Also, passengers hardly use the subway to cross SV Road, as the hawkers have blocked the entry.
Skywalk leads to nowhere
The west side of the station has one of the longest skywalks in the city. Built on the pillars in the middle of SV Road, the skywalk is parallel to the railway station that has five FOBs, including the new one built by MRVC, and two subways. However, the skywalk is only connected to one FOB on the extreme north of the station and so is accessed by very few people.
An unofficial hawking zone for you
Barring the railway premises, every corner of the pavements outside the railway station on the east as well as the west is occupied by illegal hawkers. SV Road, MG Road or Kasturba Marg Road, none of them have been spared. As a result, passengers find it difficult to get out of the station road. Left with only one or two lanes, motorists, too, are forced to go slow.
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