With thousands of people visiting the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, especially during tourist season, the residents of Colaba are highly inconvenienced. There is severe traffic congestion around the quadrangle: from Regal Cinema to the Gateway of India, to the Radio Club, and the Hanuman Mandir.
Residents, along with the ALM, My Dream Colaba, took the issue to the concerned authorities in an effort to resolve it and also came up with a few solutions.
Two-way roads during peak season
Colaba resident Manjeet Kriplani said, “The problem has doubled with the authorities concretising some of the roads in the area during peak tourist season. With tourists flocking to see the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and the Gateway of India, the area sees almost two lakh visitors daily during the peak season. This leads to very bad traffic snarls. The continuous honking by vehicles also adds to the noise pollution of this area.”
One of the main reasons behind the traffic problem during the peak season is that the roads are one-way. Residents feel that if the roads are made two-way for two months (during peak season), it will help solve the problem to a large extent. “Also, most of the times, the big tourist buses cause traffic congestion. I do not understand when there is a BEST bus plying between CST and Gateway, why do we need separate tourist buses. They just add to the chaos and aggravate the situation.”
Proactive authorities needed
Residents also feel that the authorities of the area need to be more proactive. If any construction work is slated to begin, the authorities should talk to the residents and the shopkeepers in the area and take their inputs on how to manage the traffic.
“The authorities should have issued a public notice before beginning to concretise the roads during the peak season. They can also try to come up with alternative solutions to address the traffic problem. This area is supposed to be a tourist spot, hence it should look beautiful and organised, instead it is exactly the opposite. What kind of image are we presenting to the tourists, who visit this place? Also, the Victorias or the ghoda gaadis should be regularised or be minimalistic because they add considerably to the traffic woes,” said Bella Shah, another Colaba resident.
Nandita Bedi says, “We should also give cops their due. Most of the times they do a really good job. The only reason why they find it difficult to manage the traffic is because they are understaffed. What we can do is we can introduce the concept of a traffic warden. A traffic warden is a resident of the area, who helps the traffic policemen in managing the traffic. This has already been implemented in several parts of Mumbai, then why not here? These people can be trained by the traffic police and later when these wardens are needed, they can help the traffic police.”
Another solution, which the residents have come up with, is to make a pedestrian plaza during the weekend. It will not only make the area less noisy but also make it beautiful and peaceful. “A pedestrian plaza will make the whole area look more beautiful. Provisions can be made for senior citizens to walk and the cars belonging to the residents of this area can have stickers on them, so that they can move in and out of this area without being hassled,” said Manjeet Kriplani.