Every day, thousands of Mumbaikars risk their life and limb by walking on roads amid heavy traffic, as footpaths have been practically converted into parking lots. In the first part of our campaign to return pavements to pedestrians, Chetna Yerunkar visits some of the most congested footpaths of Mumbai
Despite having a population of over 12 million, Mumbai is not at all a pedestrian-friendly city, and the encroachment of its footpaths by motorists is proof of this. The apathy of authorities in dealing with offenders has exacerbated the situation.
In Part I of our campaign against misuse of footpaths, MiD DAY reporter Chetna Yerunkar takes stock of four such places
Dr SS Rao Road, Parel
Vehicles, two and four-wheelers, can be seen parked on the footpath leading towards M D College.
Locals claimed that despite the presence of several traffic cops in the area, none of the offenders are being penalised.
With the footpath being encroached upon, residents are forced to use the road, endangering their lives in the process.
As cars take up all the space on the footpath at Dr SS Rao Road, Parel, pedestrians have no option but to walk on the busy road. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Himanish Ashar, resident of Dr SS Rao Road
I have been noticing this nuisance for a long time now and the authorities are yet to take action against offenders. Is it a compulsion for the authorities to act only upon receiving complaints? Can’t they act on their own? Had they cleared these vehicles, I would have been able to use the footpath instead of walking on the road.
Mahanagarpalika Marg, CST
This road is a classic example of how authorities turn a blind eye to situations that require their intervention. Despite repeated complaints being lodged with the BMC and the traffic department about motorists encroaching upon the footpaths, nothing has been done till date.
Sachin Parkar, who had visited CST for work
Authorities need to wake up from their slumber and clear the footpaths. They are meant for pedestrians and not for the motorists.
One of the upmarket areas in the city, Pedder Road is always lined with vehicles, leaving little or no room for pedestrians to walk. Most of the footpaths have been converted into parking lots. One can even see school buses parked haphazardly on them.
Parents of the children studying in this school said that since the parking was not creating unwanted traffic jam in the area, people should refrain from complaining.
This haphazard, unplanned parking has rendered the footpaths useless and is forcing pedestrians to brave the speeding vehicles whenever they take to the road instead of footpaths.
Pritam Purav, motorist who uses Pedder Road
Footpaths are for walking and not parking buses. Haphazardly parked vehicles on footpaths force pedestrians to use the road, which is risky. I ride a motorcycle and find it difficult to navigate through pedestrians who walk on the road instead of footpaths.
Kulpati Munshi Marg, Grant Road
Here, the authorities themselves have encroached upon this stretch of road as they operate a pay-and-park service. Motorists are charged Rs 20 for the same.
There are two colleges in the vicinity, Wilson and Bhavans, whose students are forced to walk on the road due to the parking facility operated from the footpath. Some residents claimed there is no need for the parking lot on the footpath, as the area is not a commercial district. And yet, a few of them were seen using the facility.
Mona Shah, resident of Kulpati Munshi Marg
I fail to understand why this area was turned into a parking lot. There are more residential buildings than commercial ones. This has greatly inconvenienced the pedestrians in the area