Locals carry petition to Mumbai CP traffic to ease bottlenecks at Parel

By Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Updated: Sep 11, 2018, 10:47 IST

Locals carry petition to Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar as Ganesh festive season and Lower Parel Bridge closure compound traffic snarls in already choked area

(From left) Sudipta Suri, Deepa Harris, Vibha Mantri, Shiva Khattar, Rekha Shah and Priti Dalal Agarwal

Upscale malls, commercial spaces and residential high-rises, where house prices reach dizzying heights, have been the most distinctive features of Parel's transformation from mill hub to a coveted address.

With that boom though has come traffic, with infrastructure struggling to keep up with the burgeoning numbers of vehicles and people. Now, the closure of the Lower Parel bridge has added to the bottlenecks. Parel is in a stranglehold, quite literally, with the vice-like grip set to tighten in the coming days. Residents in high rises from Parel, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi and Bombay Central are watching the impending festive season with trepidation.

A bird's eye view of the traffic from Famous Studios to Mahalakshmi

Congestion chaos
The worshippers are an annual feature, "this time though we are really fearful of the situation as the Lower Parel bridge has also been closed," said locals.
Yesterday (Monday) morning residents of high-rises in the area like Lodha Bellissimo, Ashok Towers, Viveria, Planet Godrej, Ashok Gardens, Primero, took along a petition that was launched online on September 8, to a meeting with the Joint Commissioner (traffic) Amitesh Kumar.

The petition, which has garnered many signatures, "was to draw attention to just how difficult things are and now, the crush of worshippers, including the bridge closure will reach to virtual house arrest for these residents," said Viren Shah, president Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) who facilitated the meeting with Kumar.

Joint Commissioner (traffic) Amitesh Kumar

No cabs
Some of the points raised in the petition where the subject has been marked as: 'request to take action for reducing traffic issues in Lower Parel and Mahalaxmi area', were the increase in travel time and paucity of public transport options as cabbies do not want to ply that stretch any longer because of the problems. It said, "travel time from a location in Lower Parel to another in Lower Parel itself has increased four times from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Taxi/ Uber drivers do not want to come to this area anymore."

Heavy vehicles
Some suggestions in a nutshell were to, "Clear the Minerva back road which has many hawkers, parked vehicles and trucks plying which sometimes stop to offload goods and create huge traffic jams."

The Arthur Jail road and the road opposite Phoenix should not be allowed any vehicle parking except jail vehicles and to stop vehicles carrying construction materials to stop accessing the area during peak hours. The residents called for similar curbs on timing for garbage trucks and sought for "active traffic management" during Ganpati.

Commissioner cool
The petition is signed off on a note of desperation, saying that the sudden closure of the Lower Parel bridge has made their, "life miserable." It is signed residents and office goers.

Resident Sudipta Suri claimed that, "The Commissioner was receptive to suggestions. We never got a feeling that he had simply condescended to listen to us. I am heartened that he has called for a follow-up meeting next week on our suggestions."

For Vibha Mantri, who was at the meeting, "The Commissioner dissected each suggestion and explained why a certain turn may work, why not another. The Commissioner claimed that he will actually play it by the day and see what works best, it was a positive and admirable approach."

Rekha Shah added, "Different heads of department were called into the room when we were talking. It is evident that the top cops want to help us. We are very optimistic."

The petition
The petition can be read and signed at: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lower-parel-mahalakshmi-petition#.W5YfWRq1Tlw.whatsapp

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