Mira Bhayandar: Illegal hawkers, parked vehicles take over internal roads in the twin city

Lack of planning makes issues worse in Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar cities. Residents urge the officials to take action against the hawkers and service centres set up illegally to clear the traffic congestion.

Kamal Mishra Suresh GolaniUpdated: Wednesday, November 02, 2022, 09:38 AM IST
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Illegal hawkers, parked vehicles take over internal roads in the twin city / Representative Photo | Salman Ansari/ FPJ

The Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar traffic management policies are stuck in limbo, making the bad traffic situation in the regions worse. Commuting on some of the internal roads and stretches of highways passing through the twin-cities has become a virtual nightmare for motorists and pedestrians as the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation's (MBMC) much-hyped traffic management policy has remained on paper for the past two years.

The traffic management scenario in the area under Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) jurisdiction is the same, with most internal roads taken over by illegal hawkers or being used to park vehicles illegally.

According to Jagdeep Desai – the founder trustee and chairperson of the forum for improving quality of life in Mumbai suburbs – the main problemis theblocking of the fast lane (outer-side right lane) and middle lanes by heavy vehicles.

“The seemingly permanent slip work of Ghodbunder Bridge, which blocks both sides of the road for hours,is another major issue. Then we have toll plazas which are again blocked by these big vehicles, with smaller ones having to literally squeeze and manoeuvre through,” said Desai said.

Vehicle surge

Most of the vehicles in the Mira-Bhayander area are registered with the Thane Regional Transport Office (RTO). According to RTO officials, there are roughly more than 1lakh vehicles including 15,000 auto-rickshaws currently plying in and out of Mira-Bhayander. This is apart from auto-rickshaws from Mumbai and Thane which are allowed to ferry passengers in and out of the region.

The Vasai RTO faces a similar excess vehicle situation, with lakhs of two-wheelers and over 30, 000 auto-rickshaw registered with the road transport authority.

The number of vehicles registered with the Vasai RTO up to March 2022

The number of vehicles registered with the Vasai RTO up to March 2022 | FPJ

Traffic management policy is stuck in limbo

A blend of rural, urban, coastal, tribal and industrial pockets, Mira-Bhayandar is spread over an area of 79.4sq km. Of the total road length in the twin-cities, 5 km is covered by the national highways and 3.5km by state highways, while the remaining major and other internal roads have a total length of 312km.

However,the density of vehicles in the region is extremely high compared to the road network spanning 320.5km. Realising that the absence of a proper traffic management plan had become a roadblock to the all around development of the twin cities, the civic administration had hired a private consultancy firm to conduct a survey of road traffic movement and provide a blueprint for systematic traffic management.

As per the roads inventory, there are 84 roads, including divided two-way single roads, divided two-way roads and one-way single roads. Apart from identifying black spots (accident-prone areas) where multiple accidents have been reported, the survey has identified 20 roads – including the Mira-Bhayandar main road, Navghar Road, Balaram Patil Road, Silver Park Signal and Shrikant Dhadwe Road–in the first phase for decongestion, organising of haphazard parking and the presence of hawkers which leads to traffic jams, especially during peak rush hours.

Issues related to traffic and transportation like one-way systems, signal synchronisation,illegal rickshaw menace, hawker-free roads, pavements and no-parking zones, among others have remained on the back burner for more than two years.

The traffic police are also working with a skeletal staff of 104 personnel and five officers supported by 150 traffic wardens. There are 30 traffic signals in Mira-Bhayandar.

Another region which is part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and falls under the jurisdiction of the recently elevated Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate is the sprawling Vasai-Virar region, which is also plagued by traffic congestion.

Traffic woes in Vasai Virar on rise due to illegal service centres

In Vasai-Virar, apart from hawkers, the presence of illegally operating garages and service centres which occupy a lion's share of pavements and even roads are a major cause of haphazard parking, leading to traffic snarls and inconvenience to motorists and pedestrians.

Civic and police officials have turned a blind eye to the brazen illegalities. While the geographical area of the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) is 311sq km, the road length is more than 1,000km including city roads, national and state highways.

“The police and civic administration should take action to get rid of the illegal garage and hawker menace which is the main cause of traffic congestion,” said local resident Abhijeet Pandit.

The traffic control branch has identified 11 black spots on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway which regularly witnesses bumper-to-bumper traffic, along with the stretch between Naigaon and Kashimira.

For your suggestions, feedback, or to share your traffic woes write to editor@fpj.co.in, fpjcitydesk@gmail.com

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