Monday, March 30, 2009

Peddar Road repairs cause traffic jam at Nepean Sea Road

March 29th 2009. Just another date. Just another day to show-case planning, India style.

Peddar Road, the main arterial road, going from Haji Ali at its Northern End till Hughes Road / Chowpatty at its southern end, is undergoing major repairs. Actually the sewers running underneath the road are undergoing major repairs. To facilitate that, the road is open only to one way traffic running from Haji Ali to Chowpatty.

To compensate for the disruption and to supposedly facilitate traffic movement in the opposite direction, Walkeshwar road has been made "one-way" from Chowpatty till Teen Batti, and also Ridge road has been made one way from Teen Batti till Kemp's Corner via Hanging Garden.

Now this plan for alternate traffic movement ignores 2 very basic things.

1. The alternate route chosen is very circuitous and long. It involves ascending up the hill via Walkeshwar Road, then going along Ridge Road, passing Hanging Garden, before finally descending to Kemps Corner - Peddar Road junction, only to take left for Breach Candy, since entry to Peddar Road is closed from there.

Motorists would rather take a left at Chowpatty towards RTI / Prempuri Ashram and then take a left for Breach Candy on reaching Peddar Road flyover, thus saving a lot of time.

2. Most of the people who live at Nepean Sea Road, Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill area have their work places in South Mumbai. I would guestimate it to be 75 to 80 %. Only a few 25% such as yours truly, actually travel north to earn their Bread n Butter (& Jam n Honey).

There are 3 exits out of Nepean Sea Road / Walkeshwar:

A) South to chowpatty via teen batti (Now closed for south bound traffic)
B) To Kemp's Corner via Hanging Garden and thence to Peddar Road, Nana Chowk, or Hughes Road.
C) To Warden Road and Breach Candy via Priyadarshini Park on Nepean Sea Road.

By closing down an exit route used by three fourth's of the motorists, a nightmarish situation has developed. All south bound traffic moving from Nepean Sea Road, Walkeshwar to Nariman Point, Churchgate, Masjid/Pydhunie, Opera House etc has been diverted to the other 2 exit points. Traffic is moving slower than a snail. It took me on hour to travel 1 1/2 Kms from my house to Kemp's Corner, only to be greeted by empty roads ahead. Once I reached Kemp's Corner, the streets were so empty, I thought there was a bandh in the city! My daughter had a nightmarish time returning from school and was sapped of all her energy.

This inspite of there being adequate traffic policemen ("Pandu's" / "Mama's" and "RTO's") manning the main diversion points. This isn't just a case of traffic mismanagement, its a case of gross mis-planning!

I'm sure that with a little common sense, study of traffic movement data and patterns we can do a much better job. Or is it just asking for too much?

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