Barricades and white paint give pedestrians their space in Mumbai
Mumbai city news: After a month-long trial, traffic cops have asked the civic body to make it permanentUpdated: Jun 09, 2017 09:42 IST
A month-long trial at HP junction in Bandra that gave pedestrians their space back could soon be permanent if the civic body implements changes recommended by the World Resources Institute, India (WRI) and the Bloomberg Philantrophies Initiative for Global Road Safety.
The trial project was carried out in April by the two organisations in collaboration with the city police and civic authorities. The WRI conducted the trial with nothing but barricades, cones and white paint. There was no need for extra personnel.
Now, the Mumbai traffic police have recommended that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) make the changes that will boost pedestrian safety. Traffic officials said the project was a success.
“Keeping in view the ease in congestion, we have forwarded the recommended changes to the BMC and have advised them to make it permanent,” said Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police, traffic.
The HP junction, which is the intersection of Turner Road, SV Road and Link Road, is used by at least 5,000 vehicles and equal number of pedestrians during peak hours, according to a WRI report.
Calling the technique tactical urbanism and pop-up transformation, Dhawal Ashar, of WRI, said, “All we had to do was create a proper way for pedestrians to cross, give them their refuge islands bank and allot proper space to motorists.”
“Such trials have taken place in the United States, where people woke up to newly designed intersections and it was beneficial for the pedestrians and motorists,” added Ashar.
At the onset of the experiment, WRI identified the problems at the junctions such as there were “undefined spaces and it encouraged speeding”, “lack of pedestrian crossing infrastructure” and “no access for pedestrians to the refuge islands”
At the refuge island, however, there is no space for pedestrians to wait there owing to railings and a small garden, which was done as part of the BMC’s beautification programme.
With the help of barricades, the intersection area was reduced from about 1,423 sq. m. to 1,000 sq.m. This was, however, done while ensuring the number of lanes remain the same.
There were assembly zones created using the barricades around the island. This also resulted in easing congestion owing to pedestrians crossing hurriedly.
Now, road-safety experts are likely to experiment with other high-risk intersections in the city, traffic officials said. If such trials are implemented at various junctions, it could be a slow but steady change in making roads safer for pedestrians. In Ashar’s words, “We can win the battles at the intersections.”