Mumbai: Dozens of information technology companies based in Mumbai have made Goregaon-Malad an important business hub. But, considering travel and traffic issues, this belt is in a bad shape for want of planned development. Anyone commuting within this belt gets stuck in long traffic jams at all major junctions.
With metro construction in full swing, the situation has only worsened. Sometimes, it takes nearly an hour from Goregaon railway station to reach Mind Space Centre if one travels by a BEST bus as the traffic moves at snail’s pace. Leeladhar Kunder, an old resident of the area says a few proactive steps by politicians, authorities and town planners can bring about a major change. He opines redesigning existing roads and improving public transport system will provide a huge relief to the commuters.
Chincholi Bunder, Inorbit Mall junction, Shastri Nagar, Ratna Naka, MTNL Office and Oberoi Mall junctions witnesses frequent traffic congestions at all times of the day, he commented. According to one Susan Philip, the roads are narrow. With explosive growth in number of private vehicles, there is little or no space left for public transport.
Advocate Ameet Mehta says the roads connecting Mind Space with Borivli, Kandivli, Malad, Goregaon, Ram Mandir, Jogeshwari and Andheri railway stations have poor public transport connectivity because transportation was not the focus when this IT hub was planned. Despite constructing such a huge business hub catering to the international market, no provision was made for BEST buses to stations, he added.
Traffic experts say there are many junctions on the arterial roads, which is the real cause of the severe traffic snarls. They have time and again reiterated that constructing underpasses and flyovers at these junctions will see the smooth flow traffic. They have also pointed out that all the roads need to be redesigned and reconstructed, as these were planned, designed and constructed six decades ago, making them grossly insufficient for the present day traffic volume. The areas near Goregaon and Malad railway stations, which are chaotic throughout the day, should be redesigned to accommodate all sorts of vehicles.
Another resident Saji Philip says we cannot expect good news in this regard since the authorities concerned are least bothered to improve the existing infrastructure. Local leaders do not have the vision to transform this stretch, he alleged. Local activist Sanjay Bhaire has time and again made representations to the ward officers and demanded strict action against hawkers who occupy footpaths with impunity.
He has demanded the assistant municipal commissioners should rid the roads and footpaths of the encroachments. The pavements are in a bad state. At most places, the pavements don’t even exist. Consequently, people are compelled to jaywalk, risking their as well as motorists’ lives, and obstructing traffic movement. Second, the traffic cops should take strict action against all illegal parking lots on the main roads, as these have taken encroached up on a huge chunk of roads.
Residents say the area makes represention by two ministers in the state government — Subhash Desai and Vidya Thakur. They should take the initiative and help the area get out of the traffic mess. The recent extension of the Central Railway’s Harbour Line up to Goregaon, introduction of 49 local services and the inauguration of Veer Savarkar east-west flyover have eased the situation, but a lot still needs to be done to improve the situation.