Karachi traffic awaits the magic stick

http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/images/2007/08/augmb/KPT-korangi-thumb.JPGLatest is SC has given directions to allow heavy traffic on Northern Bypass only, during day time while same is allowed after 11pm within city. SC is also receiving weekly reports on this & has also asked KPT to come up with a management plan to schedule timings for its activities too as it requires heavy loads to be carried by trucks etc. Having experienced some recent jams & wasted good time sitting/standing in car/taxi/bus-stop (15+ hours in 5 odd days) I would like to share my views too.

On one occasion i reached 2-talwar from SF in 20 minutes (using FTC route) but it took me 2.5 hours to cover the same journey while coming back because now it was eve time. It is sad to note that the chaos has gone to such an extent that SC has to intervene. If nothing else it was clear the administration either didn’t foresee this earlier or they had some other priorities. Mind you, there were reports in papers recently about police officials & prisoners & people related to courts not reaching on time for hearings. Whether SC acted as per these, they know but the fundamental question is for how long this will continue.

It was notable that the recent jams occurred on many wide, new/renovated roads except Saddar & MA Jinnah etc. (add if I miss any). Many of us few years back warned on flooding the city with cars. We (including myself) argued that making underpasses & flyovers may not help. This photo clearly shows that now. And the opponents just brushed aside the views as anti-development.

The solution is a comprehensive plan for public transport system which is a (almost) permanent solution plus solving the housing problem (Someone for GODs sake stop these high rise buildings as they are the starting point to gather a big population at one place that result all other problems). I think Mustafa Kamal has progressed well in removing illegal encroachments but thats only on kachi abaadi’s. The cancer of high-rise buildings is taking ova Khi seriously. I myself being a witness to see my beautiful area being converted into a Junkyard now due to these. The area lanes where we used to play cricket in 80’s or 90’s are now not worth walking in during rush hours. Coming back to topic, the circular railway idea was floated decades back & is still pending. When we are done with good projects the next phase should be strict enforcement of laws. If this is possible in Islamabad than why not Karachi ?. So excuses like every big city has such traffic problems is not enough as the difference in their and our cases is that they have problems within a system, not without a system. Till then we and this city’s traffic awaits the magic stick as such SC intervention wont do much help. [Image : Daily JANG]

9 Comments so far

  1. PatExpat (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

    I think this is a good step taken by SC.

    The only disappointment here is that since there is no accountability, an arrangement that should have been agreed upon by civic agencies has to be forced down by Supreme Court.

    SC can’t look into everything


  2. Reality_Check (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

    @MB thanks for posting an objective analysis. I agree with you that its now or never for a Mass Transit System for Karachi, both above and under ground. However, going underground in a city like ours is not easy, for that you need a master plan to know exactly where exactly your utility lines are before you even contemplate about digging.

    I believe the master plan of Karachi is about ready, it must have been a major undertaking, I dont know the progress on the Satellite mapping project of the city. Next step should be to gather all stake holders, devise a mass transit plan and put it up for public debate. Ofcourse, finances would have to arranged and it will require strong leadership to take on such an undertaking, because disruption to city life would be enormous. I don’t know how much the work done by the French engineers under the umbrella of KMTP would be relevant today, but they did the initial planning and surveys back in 80’s. Also can anybody tell me whats the status on the Layari expressway? That should also give major relief for the time being.

    You cannot ignore the important role of underpasses and flyovers pay in the flow of traffic, but I agree if every body is going to office on four wheelers then you would need streets the size of motorways to accommodate them. Time is ripe for a coordinated Bus and Subway system.


  3. Kashif (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    I got stuck at KPT interchange twice last week and have been in one of those jams as featured above.

    I think the solution to traffic misery is:

    1. Mass Transit Plan aka Circular Railway

    2. Private transport should not be allowed to enter in city center (Saddar), Tariq Road and other such crowded streets. Rather there should be parking areas nearby.

    3. Encroachment, Illegal Parkings should be dealt sternly. Most of the jams occurred due to these. Traffic police should heavily fine those guilty of illegal parking.

    But as SC said there is lack of administration and political will to resolve the issues.


  4. sarmad (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    there should be a rule in the country that every household in the city should not have more than 2 or a limited amount of cars … this might help the flow of traffic a bit though …


  5. sarmad (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

    there should be a rule in the country that every household in the city should not have more than 2 or a limited amount of cars … this might help the flow of traffic a bit though …


  6. Balma (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    Sarmad:
    Expand your horizon. Replace ‘car’ with ‘children’ in your statement and that may be a better suggestion.


  7. ANON (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

    I spotted 28 buses and trucks…elimiate those using paintbrush and you get this!
    http://images.craigslist.org/01011001021001030320070827f3b8b452e4e43318b100bf81.jpg


  8. MB (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 1:21 am

    @BALMA
    hahah….well said but that was not a bad idea either

    @ANON
    Good analysis. So basically we wind up the public transport system ?? lol


  9. Ahmed (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

    LOL okay sorry, my bad – I didn’t mean to say wind up the public transport, more over the heavy transport vehicles that take up 2 to 3 times as much space.



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