Mumbai welcomes revamped Bandra West railway station under 'tactical urbanism' initiative
Kasa Kay Mumbaikars! The Bandra West railway station has been revamped and we're here for the changes!
Whether it's the crowds that you're used to face or the almost unsafe situation prevalent there — things have gotten a bit better.
After 12 years, the situation at Bandra West station has tremendously improved. It has become more streamlined and systematic. The large unstructured space outside the station has been renovated and now the area flaunts seamless pedestrian movement and organised traffic.
The upgradation falls under the ‘tactical urbanism’ initiative which has been funded by District Planning Committee (DPC) under the Maharashtra Government.
The proposed plan
It has been a gradual process for Samir D’Monte, founder and principal architect at SDM Architects.
Samir had explained his work to successive governments through the years. The plan included it all — from acquiring government land to negotiations with various unions and rickshaw drivers.
So, what has changed? Let's get to it.
Organised traffic routes & designated spaces
The center space has been reserved for rickshaws, while metered rickshaws now have their own queues.
“The number of share-auto rickshaws going to different destinations increased over the years from two-three to six. And the plan wasn’t designed for as many queues,” Samir explained.
He continued, “So we sat down with rickshaw unions and drivers and tried out multiple options, changing and allocating different spaces for each group.”
This created space and organised traffic routes.
Thus, we have the accessible space for commuters.
A problem of the past
Earlier, traffic around the station would be haywire, bustling in all directions; towards Carter Road, Linking Road, and Pali Naka from one, and towards Hill Road, Mount Mary, and Bandstand from the other direction.
Passengers were able to spot long queues of metered rickshaws on the footpath. Sometimes, only one rickshaw would be allowed at a time by the police to keep the outflow restricted. The rickshaw walas would also all crowd at the entrance to scavenge for passengers. And, it was obviously noisy as they would shout and let the potential passengers know the destinations they were heading to. Buses crowded at both the station banks, away from the designated bus stand.
Samir, in collaboration with BMC, started by prioritising the buses. A wide two-vehicle arena was constructed adjacent to the station and opposite. One of them has been set for the buses and other vehicles to travel in one direction. A longer seating area and red canopies have been built at the four corners. This also solved the long-standing problem of commuters and traffic all crowded on the same road.
A long road ahead
However, it is after all a railway station and so there's still crowd but, as noted by Samir, "it’s much more systematic and streamlined". Cutting the lines and other transgressions come with a fine ranging from ₹500 to ₹1,500 but there are still many who do not follow the rules, creating a bit of chaos.
“Change will take some time, and we can keep improving," said a hopeful Samir.
An estimated 5 lakh people use the station daily and thus, life for so many people is going to get better.