Keeping road safety and encroachment-free footpaths in mind, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to convert the Bellasis Road in Byculla as a ‘model road’. The civic body has already invited tenders for the project, estimated to cost Rs 30 crore. Following the tendering process, a proposal will be tabled before the standing committee and the general body for the final nod.
After it was proposed by senior corporator and Samajwadi Party group leader in the BMC Rais Shaikh, the civic body appointed the World Resources Institute (WRI) India to conduct road safety inspection and submit a report along with design recommendations for the 823-metre stretch of Lamington Road-Bellasis Road-Nagpada.
“There has been no planning in constructing roads. This is what we have been observing. No planning goes into constructing footpaths, signboards etc. Hence, I proposed that one of the congested roads, Bellasis Road, be made a study corridor to construct a model road. The WRI recommendations mentioned proper planned footpaths, pedestrian crossings and even signboards. This will help Mumbaikars to have pothole-free roads and encroachment-free footpaths,” said Shaikh.
In its detailed report, WRI has mentioned that the congested Bellasis Road has footpaths occupied by vendors and hawkers on both sides.
The WRI team found that parking on footpaths was also prevalent.
It recommended that even though most of these hawkers are licenced, of the 5 m to 4.5 m footpath, at least 2 m be kept free for pedestrians to walk, every pedestrian crossing be preceded by a speed-breaker and parking on footpaths be strictly restricted. The recommendations also mention cat eyes at pedestrian crossings, and specific distance between two cat eyes. “The design will also help handicapped and senior citizens to cross the road hassle-free as there will be speed-breakers ahead of every pedestrian crossing,” a senior official said.
As per the WRI recommendations, the footpaths should be at least 150 mm high. “The process of inviting tenders has been initiated. Once a tender is finalised, a proposal will be tabled before the standing committee and the general body for approval. The work of constructing the model road will commence only after it is approved by the standing committee and the general body,” said a senior official of the BMC roads department, on the condition of anonymity.
Earlier, contracts for everything from signboards to pedestrian crossings, and paver blocks on footpaths to street furniture, were awarded to different companies. However, for the first time, all the above will be done by a single company, said officials from the BMC roads department.