Traffic jams playing havoc with Pindites
RAWALPINDI:Rawalpindi is one of the biggest and busiest cities of the country that has been experiencing an unprecedented rise in the number of vehicles on its roads in recent years and traffic snarls have become a common sight in the city.
The factors contributing to the rising vehicles’ number in Rawalpindi and the impact it is having on traffic flow in the city is becoming a serious headache for the residents and the civic agencies.
One of the primary factors contributing to the rising vehicle population is the increasing urbanization as the city continues to expand - more and more people are moving in, leading to an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads. This trend is not unique to Rawalpindi, as many cities across the world experience a similar phenomenon as they grow and develop.
According to City Traffic Officer (CTO) Tamoor Khan, there was no doubt that population of vehicles was creating traffic snarls on the roads but the City Traffic Police were making all out efforts to maintain the flow of traffic. He pointed out that Marrir Chowk and Liaquat Bagh were the busiest spots on Murree Road that had been made signal free with the aim to provide relief to the motorists.
He said that now the main traffic blockade was at Qasr-e-Shireen point near Committee Chowk underpass that was a troubling point. Chandani Chowk was another point with traffic blockage, he added. There was no blockage on Airport Road whereas traffic congestion on Swan Road due to construction work was impeding smooth flow of traffic, he said.
The CTO informed that over 1,100 traffic wardens were performing their duties to maintain flow of traffic in the garrison city. He also pointed out that there were so many factors causing traffic blockage, and encroachments are the major cause of road mess at Raja Bazaar, Kohati Bazaar, Naz Cinema, College Road, Bara Market, Bohar Bazaar, Fowara Chowk, Ganjmandi and other areas of the city. He said Rickshaw, Quinqui, and motorcycles in large number easily available on installments were proliferating in the traffic fleet which is another factor of traffic blockage.
“Rawalpindi Ring Road project which is need of the hour, would prove a game changer for Rawalpindi city, definitely and it would help curtail the traffic load on the city roads,” Muhammad Suleman, a road user said. He said that there was a dire need to revamp master plan of Rawalpindi according to modern needs and growing population of the city.
Talking to reporter, Prof. Dr Suleman Shah said the inadequate public transportation system in Rawalpindi has also played a role in the rising vehicle population. The public transportation system in Rawalpindi is not very efficient, with limited options available to commuters. As a result, many people choose to purchase their own vehicles as a more convenient means of transportation.
Dr Shah was of the view that another factor contributing to the rise in vehicle population is the lack of proper urban planning and road infrastructure in Rawalpindi. The city's road infrastructure has not kept up with the increasing vehicle population, leading to congestion and traffic snarls during peak hours.
“The traffic congestion has led to increased travel times, reduced productivity, and an increase in air pollution levels in the city. The traffic snarls have also contributed to an increase in road accidents, which is a significant concern for the safety of commuters on the city's roads,” he said.
In addition to the impact on traffic flow, the rise in the number of vehicles on Rawalpindi's roads has also had a significant impact on the environment. The increase in air pollution levels due to vehicular emissions has led to deterioration in air quality, posing a significant health risk to the residents of the city.
Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Spokesperson, Hafiz Muhammad Irfan said that RDA has constructed a parking plaza to lessen burden of traffic in Raja Bazaar. He said that Sixth Road, Chandni Chowk, Amar Chowk projects were completed to ease the traffic flow while underpasses and flyovers would also be constructed at Kutchery Chowk and Defence Chowk that would help in mitigating the sufferings of the motorists.
According to a district administration Spokesman, the administration was striving to start the construction work on Lai Expressway, Kutchery Chowk and Defence Chowk projects. Lai Expressway project would help in addressing the traffic congestion problems on the city roads, he added.