The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) area is set to undergo a massive transformation on the lines of New York City’s Times Square to make it safer for all road users, especially pedestrians. Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, CSMT is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai, serving as the headquarters of the Central Railways. According to a TOI report, road use rights will be modified with clearly delineated traffic lanes, with walking and resting zones. This move is part of a joint initiative by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the traffic police and the US-based Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.
Under the initiative, 19 traffic intersections across Mumbai and a few key roads, such as LBS Marg, P D’Mello Road and Belasis Road, will also undergo improvements to reduce the risk of accidents. According to BMC data from 2016, more than 50% of all journeys taken in Mumbai are on foot. The CSMT interim design proposal has taken into account the available space, and pedestrian and vehicle counts. The transformations will be interim, using temporary materials.
Janette Sadik-Khan, former transportation commissioner of New York City was quoted in the report saying that as a pilot project at Times Square, they used temporary materials, which are easy to put back if they don’t work. With this, pedestrian traffic increased by 35% and retail rates also increased. She was in Mumbai to announce the project, along with BMC officials. Sadik-Khan, who is now with Bloomberg Associates was quoted saying that there are similarities between the Times Square and CSMT with regard to imbalance. CSMT has two exquisite heritage structures, namely the railway terminus and the BMC headquarters. The trials will be supported by data collection to evaluate impact and for reevaluating design.
Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner was quoted saying that the biggest problem which Mumbai faces is unauthorised parking on roads. The 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. He added that wherever they have wide roads in Mumbai with less traffic, the same concept could be recreated. They are considering if LBS Marg could have such reserved lanes. The 10km -long LBS Marg has been undergoing change in phases beginning last year.
A consultant with WRI India (BIGRS Partner) explained that a continuous footpath will be maintained with clear unobstructed walking space of minimum 1.5 metres. Carriageway width will also be made uniform. There will be proper and frequent pedestrian crossings with wheelchair-friendly pedestrian ramps, the first of its kind in the suburbs. On P D’Mello Road, the BMC will install new street signs, rectify broken concrete panels and realign pedestrian crossings.