The Mumbai traffic police carried out an extensive survey and found gaps in road dividers at 177 locations across the city. The utility of every gap has to be defined and design interferences made. If a gap is not carefully designed, it puts the user in direct conflict with oncoming vehicles.
Vivek Kalyankar Dy chief Traffic Engineer-BMC said,“According to the recent report given by Mumbai traffic police, we are making arrangements to close the gaps between the dividers across the city as accidents has been occurring. To tell you the fact, some motorists were taking advantage of these gaps to reach early to their destinations. This has been leading to accidents. Keeping the safety of people in mind we are doing the needful.”
Interestingly, many of the gaps can be found outside commercial establishments. The gaps are a concern for road safety as motorists, particularly two-wheeler riders, use them to take sudden U-turns. The list of all the locations has been sent to the BMC.
Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, “Dividers come under the Road and Traffic department. The BMC will provide it any assistance they will ask for in the matter.”
To a query whether BMC was in plans to construct more FOBs, she said that the civic body has made arrangements to construct foot over bridges and other necessary facilities for pedestrians.
Traffic police said many of the gaps are unauthorised. Personnel from each of the 34 traffic chowkies were asked to inspect dividers in their jurisdictions. As many as 11 gaps were found in the divider near Saifee Hospital at Charni Road.
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “The gaps have been made in dividers to divert rising traffic in Mumbai. These gaps should be closed for safety of motorists and pedestrians. If the Mumbai police remove vehicles parked beside roads then there will be a reduction in volume of traffic in the city.”
Other locations where such gaps were found were Lala Lajpatrai Road near the racecourse, Karnak bridge, Darbhanga House at Pedder Road, Mahalaxmi Junction, near Marathon Heights at Worli, Nanavati Hospital at Vile Parle, outside Oshiwara and Samata Nagar police stations and IIT-Bombay market gate, among others.
Social activist Zoru Bhathena said, “If the motorists are taking a U-turn and due to their actions, accidents are occurring, it is the duty of the BMC to shut these gaps. The dividers have been made for some specific reasons and if they are broken or there are gaps in between, the space should be closed for the safety of people.”
There are numerous gaps on Bhulabhai Desai Road. Besides being dangerous, it leads to big jams. It is also the main cause for delaying ambulances. 2016 case where a gap outside a bar was filled at the owner’s request, as a BMC school was on the opposite side of the road. With the closure, the distance between the two increased to 150 metres, more than that required for excise licence.
On the condition of anonymity, a Mumbai traffic police officer said, “The gaps are made for emergencies such as the smooth running of heavy traffic on the road or the passage of the ambulance. However, some motorists particularly two-wheeler riders, use them to take sudden U-turns which often leads to accidents. So, we have sent the survey list to BMC and they will take necessary action on it.”
When AV spoke to a pedestrian, he said, “It is true that one can find a lot of gaps between dividers. Sometimes when one is in a hurry and crossing the road without noticing the gaps, we are in a danger of falling down and injuring ourselves. The BMC should take up the task of filling the gaps on a war footing basis.”