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#SaferbyDesign: Transformation of 3 junctions in Mumbai

Mumbai June 22, 2021: In a much-needed relief for pedestrians, three busy and chaotic junctions in Mumbai have been transformed, making them safer for all road users.

Under the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), World Resources Institute (WRI) India Ross Centre partnered with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to re-design the Sant Jagnade Chowk in Lalbaug, the Namaha hospital junction in Kandivali and the Mela junction in Worli.

These junctions lacked pedestrian infrastructure making it unsafe and difficult for people to cross the busy road at peak hours. These have been transformed by introducing safer street-design elements, including protected pedestrian crossings, refuge areas, clear road-markings, ramps for wheelchair-users and unobstructed footpaths.

Dhawal Ashar, senior manager, sustainable cities and transport, WRI India said, “Pedestrians need clear, unobstructed paths for a safer street experience. When we start designing streets for pedestrians, we not only make it safer for them, which is the biggest priority, but we also take our city a step closer to being people-friendly.”

To redesign the junctions, stakeholder consultations were conducted with BMC, traffic police, residents and corporators. BMC and WRI India also conducted trials on-site by using short-term measures such as barricades, paints and chalk to test the feasability of the design. The user feedback from these temporary changes were then made permanent.

Lalbaug junction

The junction, close to the suburban Chinchpokli station, is a three-arm intersection of the BR Ambedkar Road and Sane Guruji Marg. It sees a footfall of nearly 3,500 pedestrians during peak hours. Thousands of devotees also pass through this junction during the 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival (Lalbaugcha Raja is a few 100 meters away from this junction).

The lack of pedestrian infrastructure has resulted in five fatalities around a 500-meter radius of this junction between 2016-2019. Post stakeholder consultations in March 2020, a successful trial was also undertaken at the spot.

Rohit Tak, Manager, sustainable cities and transport, WRI India said, “Earlier, the largely undefined junction led to unsafe crossings, and vehicles speeding.” He further said, “By reclaiming the unused areas for pedestrian infrastructure, we made this junction safer for both, pedestrians and motorists.”

The junction was made more compact by aligning traffic lanes, shortening the turning radii and reclaiming the unused space. This space, in turn, has been utilised as waiting areas or refuge areas for pedestrians to halt before they cross. Protected pedestrian crossings have also been introduced to make navigation safer for pedestrians.

These interventions have reduced the crossing distance by almost 30%.

During the consultations, the community’s requirement for a removable refuge island for the 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival was also noted.

Namaha Hospital junction

Located at the intersection of the SV Road and Shankar lane in Kandivali, the Namaha Hospital junction is also one of the 50 critical junctions identified by BMC in its comprehensive mobility plan (CMP). The critical junctions include those with a high traffic volume and regular traffic conflicts.

An analysis by WRI India Ross Centre and Vital Strategies in 2019, showed that there were five crashes within a 500-meter radius of this junction between 2015-2019. Akanksha Aggarwal, project associate, sustainable cities and transport said, “The lack of pedestrian infrastructure like accessible traffic islands, protected median refuge areas and pedestrian crossings forced people to walk on the carriageway and cross the road at undesignated locations.”

BMC’s R/South ward and WRI India redesigned two traffic islands at this spot, providing 90sqm of pedestrian refuge area which allows for pedestrians to wait and cross the road at the designated locations safely. The design also included 105 meters of protected pedestrian crossings and 4 accessible pedestrian median refuge areas with bollards. The new design also improved accessibility for all users by providing 11 wheelchair-accessible ramps on footpaths, and six ramps in the two refuge islands.

Mela junction

Located at a three-arm intersection of the Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road and Annie Besant Road in Worli, the Mela junction lacked any sort of pedestrian infrastructure making it unsafe for all users. The Love Grove flyover also runs just above the junction.

The junction witnessed three fatalities within its a 500-meter radius, between 2016-2019.

Several interventions were made to make this junction safer. These include - converting the existing triangular traffic island to an accessible pedestrian refuge island, where pedestrians could wait before crossing, 45 meters of protected pedestrian crossings and two median refuges, one under the flyover and one at the intersection. Apart from this, travel lanes and stop lines have also been clearly marked on roads to influence behavior.

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