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Andheri to get the parking space it needs

RTO in Andheri (West) building an underground lot to house 2,000 vehicles as part of an overall revamp, which includes three-storey complex, test track

Commuters to Andheri, the most jammed and packed Mumbai suburb, will soon be able to breathe a little easy. The 5-acre open ground at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Andheri (West) is likely to house an underground parking lot, bringing much needed respite for motorists frequently running out of courtesy over that last open parking spot.


Some elbow room: The Regional Transport Office in Andheri (West)
caters to lakhs of people between Bandra and Dahisar, who want to
register a vehicle or obtain a licence. File pic


Sources in the Andheri RTO said that the government is looking at creating an underground parking facility for those who drive to this western suburb, for work or leisure. "Over 2,000 vehicles can be accommodated in this underground parking lot. The initial work has begun," said an RTO official.

Spatial relief
Manoeuvring a vehicle is a challenge at Andheri, especially with the ongoing Metro rail construction and other municipal works. The Veera Desai road is choked up, while JP Road, which falls along the Metro route, is an ordeal to navigate. To get to the RTO, one must turn at the Four Bungalows junction, also always prone to snarls. Parking in such cramped circumstances was beginning to be a Sisyphean task.  

Moreover, thousands of vehicles travel to nearby areas of Lokhandwala, Laxmi Industrial Estate and other commercial complexes on the Link Road every day. During weekends, it is a hub for families that come down to shopping malls like Infiniti and Star Bazaar, apart from the multiplexes. The parking space is likely to be a relief for all of them; in addition to the 5,000 visitors the RTO office receives daily.

RTO revamp
The lot is part of the overall development of the Andheri RTO, being done on a 7,013 sq m plot at a cost of Rs 15.52 crore, and which has long been delayed. "I don't have the details now, though such a proposal is there," said VN More, transport commissioner, conforming the construction.

The work also involves construction of a three-storey residential-cum-office complex, which is in its final stages of construction. The old RTO barracks, divided in five sections that serve 5,000 people every day, will be razed to ground, and part of the plot will be used for commercial purposes including building a shopping mall. "We will be handed over two floors of the building by March or April," said Regional Transport Officer (West), A Balchandra. The RTO caters to lakhs of people between Bandra and Dahisar who want to register a vehicle or obtain a licence.

Drained out
As of now, the RTO is reclaiming a portion of the Mogra nullah, a storm water drain next to the RTO building, to be able to carry on with the construction of the lot.

The nullah flows parallel to Link Road at Andheri (W). "It wouldn't look nice to see a nullah right next to the building. So it is being covered up and widened," said an official from Andheri RTO, adding, "There will be an underground parking lot for the employees, and the space on top of it will be allotted to build a test track for driving learners."

Currently, the driving test ground is a mess with metal scraps, impounded vehicles and debris lying strewn across it haphazardly, leaving hardly any space for motorists to practice.

Sources said that the authority is looking at constructing a road connecting the ground with the Link Road to ease access for motorists. "We've asked them to widen the Mogra nullah and then construct the road over it," said L Vhatkar, chief engineer, Storm Water Drains.

Voices
No matter what time of the day you are travelling, the road is congested. Owing to persistent traffic jams, there is continuous honking and pollution. This is a good initiative to make some room for parking in that area.
-- Sayeli Kawade (21), D N Nagar resident

Forget cars, it takes a lot of time to find a space to even park my bike. If the government is thinking of having a parking space in the RTO, it would help ease traffic congestion on the roads
-- Prasad Desai (24), bike owner

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