Mumbai’s missing roads: Citizens at work on 'out of sight' roads

When it comes to traffic congestion on roads, Mumbai is one of the worst cities in the world. Highlighting the plight of Mumbaikars and the city’s poor public infrastructure, Mumbai March, a people's movement has pointed out several missing patches and road links around Western Express Highway, New Link Road and SV Road.

According to the TomTom traffic Index 2020, Mumbai is the second most congested city in the world after Moscow in terms of traffic. The study was conducted across 416 cities in 57 countries.

Mumbai March has attributed this rise in traffic congestion to the poor road network and infrastructure planning of the BMC. “Despite DP 1967/1991 and DP 2014, over 85% of the city’s roads are blocked due to lack of coordination and consensus between different government agencies, court cases and private parties who own lands,” stated activist Gopal Jhaveri founder of Mumbai March. The group has alleged that 85% of the roads are blocked due to various reasons – lack of coordination and consensus between government agencies like the Forest Department, Food Corporation of India, Defence forces, Airport Authorities, land belonging to private parties, court cases and slums and encroachments.

The Mumbai March team has built a 3D model of roads, connectivity for areas between Bandra and Dahisar based on the city's actual DP to understand the causes of blockages. The arterial roads in the western suburbs used by autos embody the Western Express Highway, the New Link Road and SV Road. These roads face heavy traffic snarls during peak hours. "If the links/patches are opened up and developed it can ease the traffic woes," added Jhaveri.

Under their campaign 'Lapata Sadak' (Missing roads) Mumbai March has organised a citizen's led Road March – 5-km walk on the WEH on March 7. It will start from Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali (East).

He added, " For almost five decades authorities have been planning and talking about traffic congestion and chaos. Our goal is to begin a dialogue with the concerned authorities on the undeveloped / missing roads that are marked in DP but do not exist in reality. Mumbai March team has studied the DP plans, researched and suggested solutions offered by experts, including retired BMC officials," Jhaveri said.

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