Mumbai: New cafe brews trouble for Lokhandwala motorists

Dec 21, 2017, 19:18 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

Locals claim that patrons of new coffee shop have been eating into road space with haphazard parking, causing severe traffic congestion in the area

If the harrowing commute during peak hours wasn't enough, residents of Lokhandwala and Oshiwara, have a new nightmare to deal with -- and this time, it's in their own backyard. For the last two months, motorists say they've been taking double the time to reach home if they take the Lokhandwala Back Road, all thanks to a new cafe in the area.

Haphazard parking outside Love and Latte in LokhandwalaHaphazard parking outside Love and Latte in Lokhandwala

Locals alleged patrons of the coffee shop, Love and Latte ave been haphazardly parking their cars, causing severe congestion, especially between 6 and 8 pm. Fed up with the inconvenience, the Lokhandwala-Oshiwara Citizens Association (LOCA) approached the DN Nagar Traffic Division on Tuesday.

While the traffic police fined the owners of the cars, residents claim the fine amount of R200 was not significant enough to deter them. "They pay more for their coffee," said a resident. The residents are now pursuing the police to take stringent action.

Car clamped by the cops
Car clamped by the cops

Bad parking on road
According to Karan Jotwani, a member of LOCA, the congestion on Back Road first began in September, when the café first opened. "This is primarily due to the badly parked cars that take on a major part of the road," he said. Apart from Love and Latte, there are two other coffee shops on the same stretch.

Due to the sheer number of improperly parked cars on Back Road and the Jaswant Singh Chandok junction, the travel time through this section has increased from 10 minutes to nearly 25 minutes, Jotwani said.

The road that was cleared yesterday
The road that was cleared yesterday

'Ridiculous fine'
Dhaval Shah, founder of LOCA, said that the traffic department led by Senior Police Inspector Chandrakant Thale is currently towing vehicles, which are parked incorrectly on the stretch, and also fining the owners. "But, the fine amount of Rs 200 is ridiculous. The owners don't care because they are paying over R300 for one cup of coffee. The police should increase the fine to Rs 1,000 for people to feel the pinch," Shah said.

Thale admitted that coffee patrons with cars are proving to be a menace. "These people park angularly and eat into the space on the road," he said. When asked about the measly fine, he said, "The fine for wrong parking, as stipulated by the authorities, is Rs 200 and we can't do much about that. We will keep traffic personnel at the spot."

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