Poorly-designed footpaths, parked cars and encroachment on pavements are a common sight on the streets of Mumbai. But the city, often rated as one of the country’s most pedestrian unfriendly places, will turn over a new leaf on Sunday when the municipality will open city’s first pedestrian-friendly street.
Pedestrians can look forward to enjoying uninterrupted and seamless walks all along Kala Ghoda’s K Dubhash Marg, which will be reserved for pedestrian traffic from 9 am to 9 pm Sunday.
Adopting Shiv Sena heir apparent Aditya Thackeray’s suggestion of turning Kala Ghoda into Mumbai’s own Times Square, the BMC has also set up an open-air gallery for pedestrians to enjoy the various installations during their walkabout.
Sources in the BMC also said that the street has been painted and decked up ahead of opening.
Aaditya Thackeray took to the social media to reach out to the pedestrians, urging people to be a part of the movement. “This isn’t a festival. It is the first street for pedestrians. This is going to be a part of every Sunday Mumbai mood (sic), “ he said.
Meanwhile, sources said that Mumbai municipal chief Ajoy Mehta, along with other senior officials, will not participate in the event, likely be attended by Shiv Sena bigwigs.
With municipal elections around the corner, Sena has started branding the initiative as one of its achievements. Last month, Aaditya had called upon Mehta with the proposal to set up “pedestrian-friendly corridors” and pedestrian streets on weekends in South Mumbai, which was later approved.
The Sena scion had earlier said that the initiative would boost city’s art and culture scheme. “The aim is to give Mumbaikars streets where they can walk and enjoy the weekends as well as give budding artists a space,” he had said
A 250-metre stretch along the street has been set aside for art installations or open-air gallery. Artists can take 15×15-foot boxes on a nominal rent to showcase their art, said civic officials. The city’s new development plan has reserved eight such pedestrian-friendly streets.