Mumbai: BMC steps in to fix Kurla railway station mess

Updated: Mar 14, 2019, 15:53 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Joining the traffic police's drive against errant cabbies and auto drivers, L Ward officials draw up detailed plan to decongest Kurla station

Mumbai: BMC steps in to fix Kurla railway station mess
The space outside Kurla station is now being segregated into separate lanes for autos and private vehicles

The civic body has finally stepped in to sort the mess outside Kurla West station following this paper's series on rogue autowallas and cabbies. With absolutely no place for pedestrians and other vehicles outside the station, the L-ward office has now drawn up a road plan to segregate the space into only-pedestrian, only-auto, and other vehicular traffic lanes.

Work on its plan began earlier this week. Officials of L ward are trying to find a "permanent solution" to the chaos outside Kurla station, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Manish Valanju told mid-day. "We have conducted several meetings with the traffic police and other stakeholders and the first step is to segregate the various users there.

There is an immense amount of pedestrian traffic immediately outside the station since this is an important changeover point for office-goers at BKC and beyond. Earlier, there was a Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme (SATIS) proposed at Kurla West but that is taking time, we had to step in," Valanju explained.

Also Read: Why auto and taxi mafias are rampant at three of busiest suburban train stations in Mumbai

Work on segregating lanes has already begun outside Kurla station
Work on segregating lanes has already begun outside Kurla station

"It was found that the autos usually block most of the area, leaving no space for any other vehicle. According to the plan, one lane has been segregated for autos and another portion of the road could remain free for all other larger vehicles. This is very important in case of emergencies like fire as it would allow fire vehicles to move expeditiously," he said.

"The next phase will be to widen the footpaths and have railings on them so that pedestrians can use them with ease. We have already begun work on placing physical barriers for auto lanes on the road and footpath railings for the pedestrians to walk," he added.

Also Read: Mumbai cops crackdown on rogue auto drivers at Kurla terminus; over 100 fined

Shopkeepers oppose plan

The plan shows pedestrian-only walkways immediately outside Kurla station, followed by auto lanes and proposed one-way roads. Local shopkeepers have, however, opposed the plan saying that they had not been consulted regarding it. "The footpath here is three-feet wide and they should have consulted us before implementing such a proposal. They should have put it in public domain and invited suggestions/objections," a local shopkeeper and member of Mumbai Transport Forum, Jitendra Gupta, said.

"Why has the state government neglected its duty for the last four decades to plan and provide mass transport infrastructure for around five lakh commuters walking towards BKC?" he questioned.

Story so far

This is the latest step in the crackdown against non-compliant auto and taxi drivers across the city. The traffic police, along with the RTO and city police began action against errant drivers following mid-day's series on commuters' woes at major junctions in the city. Beginning February 2 with instructions from former Police Commissioner Subodh Jaiswal, traffic cops have taken action against more than 32,000 auto drivers and seized more than 500 autos plying without licence across the city.

No. of autos seized across the city since the drive began

State of SATIS

The Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme, a World Bank-funded station area traffic improvement project, is being implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Thane Municipal Corporation outside major stations in the city. While some stations have seen progress in this regard, Kurla is not on that list.

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