Traffic Congestion & More Cars - A Major City Health Hazard. “Parking’’ –A First Step towards it’s Mitigation in MMR Back
Location: Annie Besant Road in Worli, N.C.Kelkar Road-Dadar, Linking Road-Bandra, E Moses Road-Worli and Mohammed Ali Road under J.J.Flyover
The study was undertaken to identify the spatial, environmental, health, economical impacts of current parking practices and policies. The near gridlock situation on roads and highways specially during the peak hours is caused by unrestrained, free, anywhere parking.
This further reduces the effective carriage way, thereby causing start stop mode of driving. Which in turn causes rise in emissions and particulate matter, thus creating health hazard by increasing the chances of respiratory problems.
In order to quantify emissions on roads where traffic is affected by parking, we identified one road (Annie Besant Road in Worli) as control, where there is almost no parking but high traffic volumes.
Four other road stretches viz. N.C.Kelkar Road (Dadar), Linking Road (Bandra), E Moses Road (Worli) and Mohammed Ali Road (under J.J.Flyover) were selected as test sites. Both the control and test sites were similar in terms of traffic volumes, number of lanes etc. But differed in terms of parking (which was almost absent in the control and substantially present on Test Roads).
Traffic was recorded by videography and vehicle count on all the above sites for peak hour, peak direction and the lowest off peak hour was carried out.
Counting of parked vehicles was also simultaneously carried out. Thereafter with the help Environment Policy & Research of India (EPRI) air quality at the control and test sites was checked with the help of appropriate instruments at regular intervals of 15 minutes since morning to late evening for full normal working days for emissions (i.e. presence of oxygen, carbon di oxide, methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide and hydrogen in ppm ) and particulate matter in milli microns and noise levels in decibels.
Comparisons of findings at the test and control road sites as well as peak and off peak hours show that traffic congestion, slow moving vehicles and unmanaged pedestrian movement due to poor quality of footpaths and unregulated chaotic parking contribute to a substantial increase in particulate matter and Carbon Monoxide emissions and an increase in the decibel levels.
In conclusion, we can say that it is time when a robust parking policy is put in place for Mumbai, which will lead to shift of traffic from cars to shared cars, taxi pooling and buses. This will help make the traffic more sustainable, environment and city friendly.