Imagine a basketball court, a museum, a joggers’ track and an amphitheatre — all below one of Mumbai’s most congested flyovers. At a time when preserving an open space in the city is becoming next to impossible, the residents of Matunga and Dadar have come up with an innovative proposal to keep the open space below the Ambedkar Road flyover free from encroachments and illegally parked vehicles. Last week, they submitted their proposal to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) elaborating the usage of the open space beneath the flyover.
The design submitted to MMRDA speaks for itself. It clearly shows exactly where local residents want to set up a small museum displaying old photos of the city. Apart from this, the plan also includes an amphitheatre, a skating path, a joggers’ track, seating arrangements for people, small flower garden and even a basketball court.
These amenities will be spread out at regular intervals under the flyover, providing enough space for people to relax. “We have submitted different designs. The MMRDA will hopefully approve one of them, depending on what they think is feasible,” said a resident. MiD DAY had reported about the plan to create an open space below the flyover last July.
“The MMRDA had recently called for expression of interest from those who were interested to beautify the space below flyovers across Mumbai. So we decided to take the lead and not only beautify the space but also provide amenities for people,” said Nilesh Kanakia, a resident of Matunga.
The stretch identified is beneath the Ambedkar Road (officially known as the Tulpule flyover) between King’s Circle and Dadar. In a bid to prevent encroachment by illegally parked cars and beggars, residents first approached the BMC and local police to barricade the entrance.
In the last few months, preventive measures have led to a lot of space being cleared. “You can see the difference if you come to the flyover in the mornings or evenings. Women and senior citizens take their evening walks here while children cycle and play,” said Achal Sarawal, another resident.
When contacted, sources in the MMRDA claimed they plan to beautify the space below several flyovers by creating gardens and artificial structures in order to prevent encroachments. Clearly, the residents of Matunga and Dadar have shown the way.
The 1.5-km flyover was inaugurated on May 2011 by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan
The Maheshwari Udyan —Tulpule Chowk flyover was built at a cost of R 70 crore
It is 17 metres wide, providing two southbound and northbound lanes each