–CTO says lack of traffic sense a major cause of bad traffic flow
–Depleted roads, traffic issues source of health and environmental hazards
LAHORE: Despite spending billions of rupees on different roads projects in recent few years, Lahore authorities have been failed to overcome the traffic issues, which are a source of health and environmental hazards in the city, Pakistan Today has observed.
Lahore’s traffic mess remained a challenge for the authorities to deal with it but with each passing day, it is getting worst. On different city roads, though the traffic signals have been installed and traffic wardens are also deployed there to control the flow of traffic, it proves ineffective quite often.
While travelling on any city road, one cannot make it without experiencing a traffic mess. This situation only increases suffering for the commuters but also create problems for the localities adjacent to the roads.
In past few years, the Punjab government completed three infrastructure projects to control the traffic issues in the city. These projects include Metro Bus Service, signal-free Jail Road and Ferozepur Road.
To keep a smooth traffic flow, various flyovers, u-turns, underpasses were constructed. The traffic mess, mostly witnessed in the peak hours, becomes terrible when commuters are in rush, paying no heed to traffic rules. Rain also contributes to this craziness. The situation is worst on important roads such as Mall Road, Ferozepur Road, Multan Road, Shalamar Link Road, Queens Road, Allama Iqbal Road, Lytton Road, Temple Road, Mozanad Road, Canal Bank Road and many other small arteries of the city.
During the last decade, Lahore observed a significant growth in its population while the number of daily visitors has also increased bringing more vehicles on the roads. Rapidly growing population, a surge in vehicles and lack of town planning are few factors causing traffic problems in the city. These are factors which create a traffic jam on signals of the main roads in peak hours: in mornings, when people leave for offices, schools and colleges; in evenings when office and school crowd returns home. Every major road of the city at that presents a picture not so pretty.
Though Lahore is a provincial capital but still, it lacks a better traffic control system, which adds to the woes of the public.
Unlike other metropolitan cities in the world, 100 million-people city is deprived of a reasonable public transport, which forces citizens to use personal vehicles to perform routine tasks.
Besides, wrong parking and encroachments on different roads are also the main reasons in clogging the roads, witnessed at different spots of Ferozepur Road, Circular Raod, Railways Station, Allama Iqbal Road, Gulberg, Johar Town, Thokar Niaz Baig, Temple Road, Queens Road and others. This situation badly exposes the performance of law enforcers, including traffic police and anti-encroachment cell.
The service lanes, meant to facilitate commuters, are used for parking. Moreover, one can also observe a large number of vehicles parked in front of the commercial centres hindering the traffic flow.
Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) Chief Engineer Asrar Saeed believes that the delay in the court decision on Orange Line train project is one of the major reason of traffic problems in the city. Talking to Pakistan Today, he said that firstly the OLMT case had been pending in Lahore High Court for one year, which is now in the Supreme Court. Till the resolution of OLMT issue, traffic problems would keep on pestering the commuters.
Asrar said that to deal with the traffic issues, the department had been working according to a master plan of the city and such corridors were part of it. He informed that due to construction work of Orange Line train project around city’s other roads are experiencing around 100,000 more vehicles daily which definitely affect the traffic flow. However, he believed that the city roads were still enough to commute but the problem was a lack of traffic sense among the commuters.
Putting an emphasis on the traffic awareness, Asrar was of the view that a lot of traffic issues can be resolved through following some basic rules.
Chief Traffic Officer Lahore, SSP Rai Ijaz Ahmad, told Pakistan Today that traffic was a collective responsibility of traffic police, town planners and public. He said that traffic police have been performing its duties up to its best and department was trying its best to enhance the performance. Admitting that a lack of traffic sense in the public causes traffic issues, he said that Punjab government has planned to introduce a subject in educational institutes to create awareness among the masses.
He also added that this has been observed that despite receiving challan tickets time and again, people don’t avoid committing traffic violations.
London School of Economics’ Urban Transport Department member Dr Adeel said that Lahore needs a wide range of transport policies to solve these issues and provision of the mass rapid transport system is one of them.
He said that traffic problems can be resolved enough through discoursing car-based mobility and encouraging access to destination through non-motorized mobility. “Methods of increasing non-motorized mobility include providing bicycle friendly roads, pedestrian pathways and safety of non-motorized users,” he added.