Mumbai skywalk audit: Andheri walkway connecting to Metro is dirty, dangerous and encroached

Dec 04, 2017, 08:30 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav and Laxman Singh

Following mid-day's well-received audit of train stations, we turn the spotlight on skywalks. Are they safe? Do they serve their intended purpose? What do citizens say? Today: Andheri

It's the connecting link on Western Railway for suburban and Metro commuters headed to Versova or Ghatkopar. Likewise, the skywalk on the east side is important too, integrated with the Metro station in Andheri West and the railway station. However, the arterial arm of the skywalk connecting to the Metro station poses a risk that is fresh in the minds of people - of causing a stampede, due to its narrow width.

Completed in 2011, the skywalk has already fallen into disrepair. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Completed in 2011, the skywalk has already fallen into disrepair. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The other problem with this skywalk is a perennial and exhausting one - that of cleanliness, with paan and gutkha stains visible all over. In a few spots, traces of human waste and urine were also found.

Completed in 2011, the skywalk has already fallen into disrepair. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

A tight-rope walk
Though authorities recently constructed another arm connecting the Metro station with the railway foot overbridge, that too is proving to be inadequate, if the morning and evening rush hour crowd is anything to go by - hawkers lined up to sell their wares on the old arm create hurdles for pedestrians during peak hours, because of which most prefer to use the new one. Andheri resident Amey Sawant said, "The skywalk in Andheri East is a boon to pedestrians, as it connects Andheri station with the Metro platform, but the narrow arm is a big worry. During morning and evening peak hours, the crowd on the skywalk is crushing; in such a situation, the iron rods installed in the median can prove to be dangerous."

The skywalk has already fallen into disrepair, with tiles missing and paan and gutkha stains visible all over, besides encroached entrances of the staircases. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
The skywalk has already fallen into disrepair, with tiles missing and paan and gutkha stains visible all over, besides encroached entrances of the staircases. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Site visit
mid-day's inspection of the skywalk revealed that while there are multiple arms of the skywalk, besides the ones connecting the Metro and railway stations, the others are barely used - the one that goes towards Gokhale Bridge and Agarkar Road has very few takers. When mid-day visited the spot, a few hawkers were found sitting at the entrance of the arm connecting the two stations. Also, entrance of the arm that lands on Sahar Road near the bus stops is completely encroached by shops on footpaths and autos parked in front. Many commuters don't use it because of this.

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A few problems
* The arm of the skywalk connecting Metro and railway stations is very narrow and choked further by hawkers.
* One of the landings of the skywalk has encroachment at the entry/exit point, which discourages citizens to use it.
* The skywalk is filthy and not maintained properly.

Local take
Syed Haider Imam,
Andheri resident
'During office hours, the part of the skywalk that leads to the Metro station is used by thousands. The rush is such that many Metro commuters prefer to manoeuvre their way on an already busy road to reach the railway station. The skywalk arm is extremely narrow and causes a lot of inconvenience. After dark, beggars come to sleep there. While constructing the skywalk, authorities should have factored in the Metro connection and the additional footfall'

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