As the problem of congestion outside railway stations continues to affect commuters, with unplanned skywalks worth Rs700 crore having failed to be of any help, the city’s civic and planning bodies are back to square one and have now revived a decade-old project — the station area traffic improvement scheme (SATIS).
The project had earlier been dropped by World Bank from its transport and infrastructure upgrade project in favour of skywalks which came up in a haphazard manner near city railway stations.
“At a civic meeting held recently, it has been decided that the BMC will prepare station area traffic improvement schemes at three suburban railway stations — Andheri, Kurla and Dadar — on a pilot basis, in consultation with Central and Western Railways and the traffic police. The Mumbai Transformation Support Unit, a local government body on transport and infrastructure project planning, will facilitate and coordinate the project,” said a senior civic official, on condition of anonymity.
In the original Rs 103-crore scheme first conceived in 2004, the project was supposed to clear the roads around four main stations in the city and allow easy access to commuters. The plan provided for proper parking lots for autos and taxis, as well as swanky ticket counters. The stations chosen were Dadar, Borivli, Chembur and Ghatkopar.
However, the World Bank dropped the project at the last moment, citing worsening economic conditions due to the difference in rupee-dollar equations after cost escalation.
Soon, the MMRDA conceived skywalks — long pedestrian bridges connecting arterial roads with stations — but after three years of use, many of them were found to be useless.
“It is good to hear that SATIS is back. SATIS is much more than just about bridges. The project should be revived in its entirety with all its elements like parking lots and bays for public transport that would help in decongestion and better connectivity,” said AV Shenoy of Mumbai Vikas Parishad.
Agreeing with Shenoy, Ashok Datar of Mumbai Environment Social Network said SATIS will go a long way in restoring order outside chaotic railway stations.
Rajendra B Aklekar l @rajtoday