Suggestions for improving traffic movement

There are many busy parts of Dhaka city– such as Mothijheel– where cars are found parked without a care whether these have blocking effects on the traffic or not. Cars are parked not with a view to minimise their occupation of road spaces. The arbitrary car parking frequently turns otherwise spacious roads into narrow streets. Understandably, traffic flows are slowed down and clog while trying to make way through the narrowed spaces.
The effect of this recurring reason for traffic slow-down and jams can be much reduced provided there is greater vigilance of traffic policemen. The car drivers need to be warned with appropriate publicity in the first place about how to park their cars or not to park them haphazardly. The warnings should be followed by tough enforcement of instructions to ensure disciplined car parking. In the long run, of course, multistoried parking lots will have to be constructed. But for now, considerable relief from traffic jams can be experienced if car parking is sought to be made always a disciplined activity.
There are many areas in the city where opportunities are there to increase the spaciousness of the roads and lanes. In some places, unusually wide footpaths can be reduced in size to extend road widths. At other places, doing away with road dividers will add to road spaces ; the dividers in their present form are seen more as hindrances to traffic flow. In other cases, roads can be widened as there are unpaved spaces on the sides. The doing of these things will involve expenses but not on the scale like building a flyover or a mutlti-storied parking lot. But the relatively inexpensive steps of road widening can contribute notably to ease of traffic movement.
The hawking of merchandise by laying these on roads and occupying road spaces thereof is a well identified reason for hazarded traffic flow. Evicting hawkers from roads seems to be a on and off activity. Sometimes hawkers are evicted from roads with drastic steps. But they reappear with full strength after some time has passed.Hawkers allegedly bribe policemen and pay toll to others on a regular basis to carry on their business on the roads without facing any trouble.
Thus, policemen do not have any real motive to evict the hawkers but do so from time to time to make a show that they are doing their job. Besides, the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is yet to solve the long lingering problem of accommodating hawkers not on open roads but on vacant spaces– owned by it– near to roads on some sort of rent or lease basis. Only such a solution by the DCC, with no expenditure involved, will not only make the roads appear cleaner but also make them freer for the traffic.
The road blocking culture has not disappeared up to satisfaction. It lingers on considerably in the form of road marches from time to time by activists of political parties, road rallies to observe this or that day and setting up daises and other obstructions on roads to observe religious occasions. Then, there are other forms of the road blocking culture. Contractors engaged in public works litter construction materials carelessly away from sites where they need to actually undertake the works. This causes traffic jams in adjoining roads and lanes. Some private real estate developers or home builders have the same tendency. The roads and lanes are also narrowed by all sorts of unauthorised structures on them. Thus, steps need to be taken in relation to such practices.
A major step toward a sustainable solution of the traffic jam problem involves increasing the number of roads and lanes. A huge and sprawling city like Dhaka with a huge population should have at least 25 per cent of its area as roads whereas road spaces are only about 8 per cent in the city at present. Clearly, new road building should get priority as a way of easing traffic jams.
There are about 36 rail crossings within metropolitan Dhaka. It was estimated that on average, every day, these crossings hold up traffic for five hours that create regular jams. Thus, these crossings must go and arrangements are to be made for trains to reach stations avoiding the metropolitan areas.


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