LBS Road and 13 other Mumbai junctions set for pedestrian-friendly redesign

The 13km-long LBS Road is set to be transformed in a joint effort by the BMC and a global road safety initiative. The change involves refurbishing and redesigning of the stretch which sees constant vehicular movement and congestion.

Thirteen other junctions in the city will also undergo changes keeping pedestrians in mind. Data on fatal accidents, maintained by Mumbai traffic police, showed pedestrians were killed more than any other road user last year (52% of 490 deaths). According to BMC officials, LBS Road was due for relaying, so it was decided to incorporate the engineering designs proposed by experts under the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS).

The existing carriageways will be redesigned. There will be three lanes on each carriageway, with every lane being a fixed 3.5 metres. At present, the lengths are varying due to encroachments and other reasons. The remaining road space will be allotted to the footpath uniformly.

The principle is that no footpath can be less than 2m. A non-obstructed, clear path of 2m is required for two people to walk or for a wheelchair of a differently-abled person to move. The design is proposed in such a way that traffic movement is smooth and people walking on the footpath can cross without any hazards.

Intersections on LBS Road such as the ones at Ghatkopar and Gandhi Nagar will also be redesigned and have components like refuge islands and pedestrian crossings. “Every corner will have a footpath and people can choose which way they want to proceed,” an official said. “All 13km of LBS Road will be transformed by the BMC, as will 13 other intersections, in association with BIGRS,” said Vinod Chitore, chief engineer (roads and traffic) with BMC.

Last year, five intersections — HP junction in Bandra, Mith Chowki in Malad, Bharatmata, Wadala and Nagpada — underwent temporary transformations under BIGRS. These are in the process of being made permanent by the BMC. “Whenever we take up an intersection, we ensure there are no major structural changes or lane reductions. If you design for the pedestrian, you get a good design for all road users,” said Dhawal Ashar, a senior project associate with WRI.

Before making designs, researchers count traffic volume and pedestrian volume surveys. “At Bharatmata junction, we found that the number of pedestrians there per hour was 12,000, which is more than the number of the people travelling in vehicles combined,” said Ashar.


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