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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Mumbai choked: Single lane at Khar subway leads to bottlenecks, traffic chaos

Mumbai city news: One of the city’s most important east-west connectors is also among its worst bottlenecks

mumbai Updated: Jul 11, 2017 00:50 IST
Farhan Shaikh
Farhan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
A long line of vehicles wait on a road leading to the Khar subway.
A long line of vehicles wait on a road leading to the Khar subway.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

How should a subway connecting two busy main roads look? Certainly not like the one at Khar, into which hundreds of cars, bikes and autorickshaws squeeze themselves every day .

It’s a problem at the fundamental level.

Here’s how: The Khar subway is a crucial east-west connector, with vehicles from the Western Express Highway on the east and Linking Road on the west driving through it. The subway is also a popular alternative to the nearby Milan Flyover in Santacruz.

But while the roads leading to the subway (Church Avenue on the west; Golibar Road on the east) are both two lanes wide, the subway itself is only a single lane.

It’s an obvious bottleneck — vehicles from the wider roads are trying to fit into the narrow subway and are getting stuck, causing jams at junctions on either side.

READ: Poor traffic management turns Bandra’s Hill road into hell road

This is not a new issue, but little action has been taken over the years to find a way out of this mess.

The simplest solution, said experts, is posting traffic police on either side to ensure the vehicles fall in line while entering the subway. But, HT did not find a single police personnel, even during the morning and evening peak hours.

While the roads are smooth and in far better shape compared to last year, lanes are not marked clearly and there are no defined spaces for pedestrians to walk or cross.

READ: The constant fight for space at Bandra’s un-Lucky junction

To make matters worse, traffic signals are not placed in a way that will help guide vehicles or pedestrians.

The result? Pedestrians struggle to find their way through the constant flow of traffic from both ends and are forced to stand in the middle of the road as vehicles drive past.

Despite repeated attempts, the Santacruz traffic division in charge, T Kate, was unavailable for a comment.

As it is with all of Mumbai’s road troubles, the congestion at Khar subway can be eased.

READ: Poor traffic management, badly-timed signals, potholes make Mumbaiites dread Milan bridge

“For the Khar subway, there was a plan for a flyover to decongest the stretch. If and when the plan is implemented, it could be tweaked slightly — let the flyover connect to the Western Express Highway and Santacruz Chembur Link Road directly,” said Ashok Datar, road safety expert and the founder of the Mumbai Environmental Social Network.

“Further, only buses and emergency vehicles should be allowed on this flyover to encourage more people to use public transport,” he said.

First Published: Jul 07, 2017 11:09 IST

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