KARACHI: Karachi's traffic problem seems to be getting worse with each passing day. The good news is that the city administration has a plan to end the madness. The bad news - Well, it won't go down too well with the stakeholders, mainly the goods transporters.
On Friday, the Karachi Additional Commissioner-I Ahmed Ali Qureshi presented the action plan, on behalf of the commissioner, to the Sindh High Court, in response to an order seeking remedial measures for issues arising due to the movement of heavy traffic in the port city.
This would take a comprehensive approach, the report states, adding that "the best meaningful outcome and resolution of the problems and issues…. can only be resolved in an excellent manner once all the relevant government authorities sit together and after hearing the point of view of the stakeholders, develop a viable plan for its strict and austere implementation".
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Ban on heavy vehicles
As per the commissioner's proposal, heavy traffic will not be allowed to enter the city's limits in the daytime in order to mitigate the traffic chaos. Currently, the volume of heavy traffic plying the city's roads has exceeded 0.1 million vehicles. This includes 22,000 22-wheeler trailers, 65,000 oil tankers, 7,000 dumpers and 17,000 trucks. The majority of the vehicles enter the city from the Super Highway at the New Karachi Industrial Area.
In a second route identified in the report, vehicles move to Godown Chowrangi, via Manzil Pump, from the National Highway. These vehicles converge at KPT Interchange, from where they move on to Korangi Road.
The heaviest congestion is witnessed on the thoroughfare leading from KPT East Wharf to Jinnah Bridge. Other bottlenecks are between Jinnah Bridge to Gulbai, MT Khan Road to Habib School and Sunset Boulevard to Qayyumabad Chowrangi.
In March last year, the Sindh High Court had ordered the provincial transport secretary and Karachi traffic police's chief to immediately stop the movement of heavy vehicles from 6am to 11pm within the limits of the city.
Long and short-term
The report states that both long- and short-term initiatives are needed to mitigate the traffic jams. The first phase focuses on raising awareness among citizens about traffic laws. It proposes to place no-parking signs across the city, besides constructing pedestrian bridges and upgrading traffic signals. It further calls for the removal of encroachments from footpaths and service roads.
The commissioner, through the report, has said that illegal parking should be eliminated from commercial centres such as Tariq Road, Clifton, Saddar, Millennium Mall and other areas, while an inter-city bus terminal should be established at the city's entrance.
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Besides, it said that heavy traffic will be stopped from entering the city during the restricted time in every possible way. All the U-turns will be closed on Maripur Road, Northern Bypass and Sunset Boulevard.
Meanwhile, the Heavy Vehicles' Association chairperson termed the commissioner's report misleading, adding that no decision was taken in the meeting on November 26, referred to in the report. He added that, contrary to what the report stated, the Karachi Mayor had not attended the meeting.
The court granted extension to the parties to submit their response and adjourned the hearing till January 10.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2018.
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