Addressing traffic jams in the city

There are many expectations of people in this country. One of them is that they should enjoy reasonably good traffic movement conditions. The present government has impressed all concerned with its swift actions in different spheres. It seems to be on the side of bringing order, discipline and normalcy in public life. Even it took the risky decision of evicting hawkers from roads to make the pavements and roads free for traffic flow and easy movement of pedestrians. This decision since then, has understandably invited criticisms also for the distresses it created for the hawkers and others who benefited from the peddling of wares on the roads. But this government, striving to project an image of restoring back orderliness in national life, is yet to accomplish the same in one area where such improvements are badly needed.
One only has to look at the clogged traffic at many places of Dhaka city these days to realize that people are not benefiting enough from the policies of the government at least in this area of life. Dhaka, a city of over 15 million and our biggest city in terms of population, is also noted to be a specially long suffering city by its residents for the traffic jams they always face on its roads. Thus, it was hoped that the present government with its enthusiastic approach to many issues of public interest, would move with particular speed and effectiveness to address this long lingering issue of traffic jams that take a toll from the residents of the city from stressed nerves, costlier operations of their transports and other forms of losses. But now the traffic scene in this city is turning out to be worse and people want a deliverance.
That the traffic jams menace is worse in the city was reported by a news agency recently. It quoted the traffic authorities as saying that the jams, instead of improving, could turn unbearable in the days ahead. What was conspicuously absent in the report was any mention by the traffic authorities of any plans or actions to be taken to improve traffic movement. This is probably because there are no such plans. But can it be acceptable to the people that a government which maintains that it is responsive to the needs of the people, will not do anything to bring back some ease in traffic movement in the city.
Traffic department officials on being asked say many things ranging from inadequate roads in the city and the absence of a sufficient number of infrastructures such as flyovers and expressways. But only more devoted traffic management by traffic policemen or their doing their job with enthusiasm and care, can much alleviate the traffic related agonies of the city’s residents. As it is, the traffic policemen are seen doing a very sloppy job specially at intersections with their hand signalling although there are signalling lights for doing this work. They tend to hold up traffic for unreasonably long periods of time with their manual signalling that lead to long queues of transports forming and creating jams. The use of the automatic signaling lights can much reduce this malaise and speed up traffic movement.
Then the policemen also do nothing to buses stopping not at bus stops but arbitrarily anywhere on the roads to allow passangers to embark or disembark. But this practice holds up other vehicles on the rear creating jams. Real estate developers and others keep construction materials heaped up on roads but nobody obliges them to keep the roads free and clean from such encroachments. Traffic policemen turn a blind eye to rickshawpullers not moving in a single file or in lanes on roads earmarked for them but in a most carefree manner. The rickshaws, thus, get in front of engine driven vehicles and create tangles that force the latter to slow down and add to the jams. Transports are also allowed to be parked similarly carelessly that lead to constricting of roads spaces hindering easier traffic movement.
All of the above reasons for traffic jams and more do not call for building costly infrastructures . Just more caring and efficient traffic policing can mean so much of a difference for the better in traffic movement in the city.


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