Lokhandwala jammed as illegal parking compounds Metro woes

Mumbai : 29 Jan, 2019 (Times of India)

Motorists Suffer As Roads Get Narrow Due To Infra Works, Double Parking

Mumbai:Residents of Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri, harangued by double parking within the shopping market, are now overwhelmed by unprecedented, interminable traffic jams. Barricades have been erected for the upcoming Metro 6 corridor to Vikhroli, and along with illegal parking, this has reduced the road width to one-third of the original. This has wrought a cascade effect into the main market.

A traffic police officer said the situation will worsen once actual construction starts. So far, only soil testing is under way. TOI has earlier reported about major snarls on Western Express Highway and LBS Marg, especially during peak hours, as the carriageway width has reduced at various locations due to Metro work.

“Construction for the Metro 6 line from Lokhandwala to Vikhroli combined with illegal parking has reduced the six-lane road along Lokhandwala Circle to two lanes. The bottleneck results in huge traffic jams with vehicles stalled for 15-20 minutes en route to both Infiniti Mall and Four Bungalows, in either direction,” said Dhaval Shah, chairman, Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizens’ Association.

R A Rajeev, commissioner of MMRDA which is executing the Metro projects, said, “The six-lane road can’t become two lanes due to Metro work. Parking is a problem. Metro is a necessity while illegal parking is a disease of our society.”

Resident Karan Jotwani said: “One main problem is angular parking inside Lokhandwala and near two footpath restaurants near the circle. The stretch from Sheetal Chhaya to Ashok Academy School is reduced to one lane since a Metro station is coming up there. Parked cars encroach one lane. Infiniti Mall junction, barely half a km away, has another station so this road has become a motorist’s nightmare.”

Yards away near Runwal building, BMC recently inaugurated a multistorey parking complex for 500 vehicles, but barely 10-15 cars utilize it daily. “Even locals are unaware of it, let alone visitors. No prominent signboard is visible,” said a guard.

Residents complain that traffic police do not act upon illegal parking, largely patronised by the shop owners’ lobby, which is known to uproot dividers and discourage pay-and-park system. A traffic official said, “When we arrive to tow vehicles, restaurant guards get patrons to move their cars... Also we have little room to park vehicles beneath Gokhale Road flyover.”

TIMES VIEW: Lokhandwala Complex is a shoppers’ hub amidst a residential locality. Haphazard double parking is rampant here. Shopowners thwarts efforts to streamline traffic by uprooting dividers to facilitate illegal U-turns; they blocked a pay and park scheme as well. With Metro work shrinking the carriageway, BMC’s multi-storey parking facility in the area needs to be promoted. Few residents, let alone visitors, are aware of it given the absence of signage.