Though pedestrian-friendliness of cities is measured not just by its sidewalks but through their steep inclines, the BMC has started the restoration of footpaths in two heritage precinct areas in South Mumbai to improve the walkability score. To support the initiative, state environment minister and guardian minister of the suburbs, Aaditya Thackeray, on Monday attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the beautification of the Churchgate railway station area. Also included in the project are the roads and footpaths of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherji Chowk and Madhavdas Kothari ‘pyau’ (drinking water facility).
Though the beautification of some parts of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherji Chowk has been undertaken earlier, the roads department of the BMC will now beautify a 3.5-km stretch and another 1.5-km stretch around Churchgate station. This will involve bus stops, side-lane furniture and other colouring work. The deadline for the project is December this year.
After the groundbreaking ceremony, Aditya After the ceremony, Thackeray tweeted, “To enhance ease of mobility in one of the busiest locations in Mumbai, laid the foundation for developing a pedestrian plaza near Churchgate station. This multimodal pedestrian-friendly area will serve over 30 lakh Mumbaikars daily.”
He further said, “Equipped with designated spots for bus stops, BEST buses, cabs, food stalls and toilet plaza, it will smoothen the flow of traffic and movement through tactical urban interventions.”
A senior BMC officer said, “These footpaths are being reconstructed by removing existing paver blocks to make them more uniform and wheelchair friendly.”
The civic body will also “scientifically” renovate the Madhavdas Laxmandas Kothari pyau, located near Metro Cinema. It will reinstate its embossed design, reconstruct old broken parts, and bring back the iron embossed taps at the pyau. It will be maintained by the contractor for the next three years.
Additional municipal commissioner P Velarasu, deputy commissioner (basic infrastructure) Ulhas Mahale, and assistant municipal commissioner of A-ward Shivdas Gurav were also present for the ceremony.
Several hawkers sit outside Churchgate station; they should be removed first. As it’s an office precinct, it is always crowded. If the BMC gives proper place to hawkers and constructs good footpaths, it will be good for all of us.
Raman Pavase, Cuffe Parade resident
A better walkway outside the very busy Churchgate station would be helpful. But it is a difficult task to make people understand the importance of different walkways for a transport-specific route. On an experimental basis, it could be a success.
Sujata Varik, Kandivali resident