CST to get makeover on lines of Times Square

MUMBAI: The (erstwhile VT) area is set to undergo a transformation on the lines of New York City‘s to make it safer for all road users, especially pedestrians. Road use rights will be modified accordingly, with clearly delineated traffic lanes, and walking and resting zones.

The move is part of a joint initiative by the BMC, the traffic police and the US-based Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety. Nineteen traffic intersections across Mumbai and a few key roads, such as LBS Marg, and Belasis Road, will also undergo improvements to reduce the risk of accidents. More than 50% of all journeys taken in Mumbai are on foot, according to BMC data from 2016.

The CSMT interim design proposal has taken into account available space, and pedestrian and vehicle counts.

The transformations will be interim, using temporary materials. “At Times Square, as a pilot project, we used temporary materials, which are easy to put back if they don‘t work. Pedestrian traffic increased by 35% and retail rates increased,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, former transportation commissioner of New York City. She was in Mumbai on Tuesday to announce the project, along with BMC officials. “There are similarities between Times Square and CSMT with regard to imbalance. CSMT has two beautiful heritage structures-the railway terminus and the BMC headquarters-but there is a fear of being run over if a person tries to go and have a look,” Sadik-Khan, who is now with Bloomberg Associates, said.

The trials will be complimented by data collection to evaluate impact and for reevaluating design.

“The biggest problem we face in Mumbai is unauthorised parking on roads. Ninth Avenue in New York has adopted a fantastic concept, where a lane reserved for bicycles is protected by parked vehicles in the adjacent lane. Wherever we have wide roads in Mumbai with less traffic, this concept could be recreated. We are considering if LBS Marg could have such reserved lanes,” said additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal. The 10km LBS Marg has been undergoing change in phases beginning last year.

“A continuous footpath will be maintained with clear unobstructed walking space of minimum 1.5 metres. Carriageway width will be uniform. There will be frequent pedestrian crossings with wheelchair-friendly pedestrian ramps, the first of its kind in the suburbs,” said a consultant with WRI India, another BIGRS partner. On P D‘Mello Road, the BMC will put up new street signs, rectify broken concrete panels and realign pedestrian crossings.

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