Wakad, 2nd October 2023: One month after its grand inauguration, the Phoenix Mall of the Millennium in Shankar Kalat Nagar, Wakad, is already causing significant traffic disruptions. Situated strategically near the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, the mall has become a magnet for shoppers and tourists alike. However, poor traffic management and ongoing road construction have led to chaotic conditions on nearby streets.
Local residents have expressed their concerns, pointing out the noticeable absence of traffic police in the area. Most traffic control measures seem to be focused on Bhumkar Chowk and Bhujbal Chowk, which are still plagued by their own traffic issues. Insufficient parking spaces have resulted in haphazard parking, worsening the congestion further.
Adding to the residents’ and commuters’ woes is the ongoing roadwork. This has led to questions about the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) decision to approve the mall’s operations without first completing essential road infrastructure. The area, also frequented by visitors from Hinjawadi for its various amenities like gyms, restaurants, and retail stores, has become a byword for traffic bottlenecks.
Sandip Yeole, the acting chairman of the Horizon Society of Wakad, voiced his concerns. “The road infrastructure should have been completed by the PCMC prior to the mall’s opening. Traffic management should fall under the purview of the traffic police, not the mall’s staff. Many of us are now avoiding going out, especially during long weekends, due to the traffic mayhem.”
Police Inspector Sunil Pinjan commented on the issue, stating, “We are in dialogue with the mall’s management. They have augmented their staff and deployed wardens outside the mall to manage the situation. We have briefed them on the gravity of the issue, and they are in the process of expanding their parking facilities to mitigate the problem. In case of emergencies, our personnel are on standby to assist.”
According to Jawaaz A Sheikh, GM (operations), Phoenix Mall of the Millennium, the following steps have been taken by the mall management:
1. Additional traffic warden deployment at perennial bottle necks at the service and adjoining roads around the mall to ensure constant flow and movement of vehicles.
2. Multiple gates available at both ends of the mall to ensure vehicles don’t crowd at a single entry point.
3. Mall team controls the traffic flow in front of the mall to ensure systematic entry of vehicles into the mall and no wrong way driving to eliminate any road block.