mid-day campaign: Hawkers, parked cars push pedestrians on to the roads
Footpaths in Parel and Dadar are barely visible thanks to extensive encroachments
The central districts of the city have their own share of chaos. Almost impossible to navigate at the best of times, at peak hours, hawker and parking woes push traffic problems here straight into the stratosphere.
mid-day ventured into this chaos to see just how the footpaths here fared and found them choked with parked vehicles, hawkers and encroachments, forcing pedestrians right on to the road and in the path of oncoming traffic.
Along the 2-km stretch starting from Gaurishankar Chhitarmal Sweet Shop at Parel junction to Dadar TT junction, B A Road has among the city's widest footpaths on both sides. But, these footpaths can barely be seen thanks to vehicles and hawkers. In the evening, people stop by to shop in the markets here, packing the area to the gills. This crowd is then forced to walk on the roads. Right under the nose of BMC's administrative ward office here, a footpath, that is at least 30 feet wide, is completely packed by two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Ironically, there is a board at the entrance of the F-South ward (Parel, Dadar Naigaon) office, which says
The words are even painted on the footpath. But, no one seems to take the BMC seriously, and 80% of the footpath is gobbled up by parked vehicles. The footpath on J B Marg in front of Gaurishankar Chhitarmal Sweet Shop is covered by hawkers and vegetable and fruit vendors. A little ahead the rest part of the footpath is captured by shops that have set up illegal extensions.
At Hindmata, a portion of footpath near Union Mansion has met with the same fate. A bus stop in front of the building has reduced the size of the footpath and two-wheelers and shop extensions have swallowed the remaining space.
The footpath outside Union Mansion at Hindmata is completely encroached by two-wheelers
Due to traffic congestion on B A Road, bikers are often seen riding on footpaths. At one of the most important junctions, near Kohinoor Electronics, it is impossible to use the footpaths as two-wheelers are parked at one end, and roadside eateries take up the rest of it. The road here becomes dangerous to walk on as state transport buses and luxury buses leave for Pune from here. Near the Mumbai-Pune bus stand, tours and travel stalls have encroached the footpath of B A Road.
At Shindewadi, shopkeepers have parked their two-wheelers near the bus stops. Here, many shopkeepers have also kept articles to sell right on the footpath in front of their shops. One shopkeeper, who wished not to be named, said, "Most of these bikes belong to people living in the buildings here.
Footpaths encroached on Ambedkar Road in Shindewadi
The main reason for parking on footpaths is the lack of designated spaces for parking. If I want to bring my vehicle, I will be forced to park on the roadside or on these footpaths. Many of these buildings are very old and at the time of construction parking was not an issue."
Parel and Dadar are densely populated, and the latter has the biggest street market in the city. At Parel festivals like Ganpati are celebrated on an ostentatious scale, making it a nightmare during such times.
'Parking on footpaths is a big nuisance and one simply cannot walk on footpaths anymore. This leads to citizens taking the streets and creating trafic jams. The BMC must ensure stack parking lots at regular intervals along roads just like private societies have. This will create infra for parking.'
Milind Panchal, Parel
'The problem of two-wheelers taking over footpaths is chronic in Dadar. Footpaths here are already encroached and reduced in size, now haphazard parking makes it a nightmare. There is barely any space to walk from Dadar Fire Station to Purandare stadium.'
Dhiren Khanolkar, Dadar Naigaon
'On-street parking is regulated around the world. We just need to follow rules that any well-governed city follows. Also, double and triple parking is a clear violation of rules and needs to be cracked down upon, instead of only cracking down excessively on hawkers. When I spoke to the BMC staff at Vakola they said parking is not our problem. Approach RTO. That cannot be the case.'
Rishi Aggarwal, city issues expert, founder, Mumbai Sustainability Centre
Notice vehicles encroaching a footpath near you?
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