MUMBAI: Three busy traffic intersections, witnessing multiple fatalities in the past, have undergone major makeovers and turned pedestrian-friendly. Two of these — Bharatmata junction at Parel and Alvaris junction near Worli’s Podar Hospital — did not have safe infrastructure for pedestrians to cross. Their transformation took place even while the lockdown was on. The third intersection, Bindu Madhav Thackeray chowk at Worli seaface, has been equipped with wheelchair-accessible pedestrian ramps making it possible for the differently abled to access the promenade.
At the four-armed Bharatmata junction on BA Road, people would often get confused about where to stand safely and where to cross. “Motorists turning left from the south bound lane of BA Road were rash, mindless of pedestrians,” said illustrator and local resident Prathamesh Sawant. Two schools nearby and children using the area made it crucial to redesign the junction. A trial with the new design was first carried out in 2017. But it was only after a second trial earlier this year that permanent changes were made. “A large unutilised space in the middle of the junction was converted into a universally accessible refuge plaza. Besides pedestrian safety, this plaza also helps streamline traffic,” said an expert from World Resources Institute India, which has tied up with the BMC for transforming junctions under the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.

Not far from Bharatmata junction, another intersection is set for a pedestrian-friendly redesign. Sant Jagnade Chowk, 100 metres from the Lalbaugcha Raja pandal, had a similar undefined space that resulted in motorists speeding. “Most of the work has been completed,” said assistant comissioner, F-South ward, Swapnaja Kshirsagar. The junction is used by 3,500 pedestrians during peak hour.
At Worli Seaface, a popular tourist haunt, unprotected pedestrian crossings and vehicles whizzing by had made it tough even for residents to walk up to the promenade from their apartments across the road. “An expansive refuge island was carved out at Bindu Madhav Thackeray junction to bring pedestrians safely up to the zebra crossing. This has worked wonderfully for pedestrian safety. Wheelchairbound elderly or differently abled individuals can easily access the promenade through ramps put up for them, said corporator Arvind Bhosle. He assured that the transformation, brought about just before the lockdown, would not be hit by the ongoing Coastal Road construction. At the nearby Alvaris junction, improper median geometry was corrected to prevent pedestrian-vehicular conflict. “Instead of using paver blocks, which come off often, we concretized the footpath, which has got a good response from pedestrians,” said an engineer from the BMC’s roads department.

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