Locals fume, but BMC says no footpaths needed as there are provisions to access service roads beside the flyover
Aaditya Thackeray has written to authorities asking them to provide the same facilities as earlier bridge as the new one has no provision for footpaths. Pic/Ashish Raje
The new Delisle Bridge outside Lower Parel station, which is currently in the final stages of reconstruction, doesn't have any footpaths, leaving residents and commuters fuming. Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray took up the issue with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) but the administration responded to his letter saying no footpaths are required on the ramp.
The bridge was closed for traffic overnight in August 2018, following a structural stability report submitted by IIT-Bombay, submitted after a portion of the Gokhale Bridge at Andheri collapsed on the railway tracks. However, the civic body decided to keep the bridge open for pedestrians till its demolition as there were thousands of commuters who used the bridge to reach the station area. Now, five years on with the bridge almost complete, commuters have realised there will be no footpaths on the bridge.
Dabbawalas too, are upset about the lack of footpaths, as they used it to manage the movement of dabbas
The dabbawalas raised this concern a few days ago. Subhash Talekar, president of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said the absence of a footpath will have a major impact on the dabbawalas. “The area serves as a major hub for distribution of tiffin boxes due to the number of offices located here. The BMC did not provide a footpath, nor did they put stairs to go up and down. The biggest impact of this will be on us. The old bridge was spacious and had stairs to climb and descend where necessary. We used the footpath to exchange tiffins brought in from Worli, Kalachowki, Byculla, Mazgaon and other areas that lie between Prabhadevi and Mahalakshmi stations. Hundreds of dabbawalas used this bridge,” he said, demanding that the stairs and footpaths be restored.
Thackeray’s letter was sent to the BMC chief and the Western Railway general manager, highlighting the inconvenience that would be caused due to a lack of footpaths on the new bridge. He also requested that footpaths be provided like they were on the old flyover. BMC Additional Commissioner P Velarasu said there is no need for a footpath on the ramp. “The railway portion has footpaths. At the end of the railway portion, there are provisions to go down to service roads and the footpath extends there. There will be no footpath requirement on the ramp,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lower Parel resident Ajay Pendurkar said the footpath is essential as the flyover is in a residential area. “The footpaths provided access to the market on the other side. There were also bus stops on either side of the bridge and commuters got taxis as well. The administration has to take all these factors into account,” he said, adding that the BMC also needs to ensure that the footpaths remain hawker-free and are used only by pedestrians.