Traffic collapses in city
Traffic system in the capital appears to have hit impasse ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, especially in market areas for rush of shoppers, causing immense sufferings to city-dwellers.
Government initiatives to ease the city’s traffic jam during the holy month of Ramadan have virtually gone haywire.
Indiscriminate parking of cars in front of shopping malls, defying traffic rules, unauthorised U-turn, jaywalking and road digging by various utility-service providers are mainly responsible for the traffic congestion in the city, observers said.
Unplanned bus stops, occupation of walkways and roads by hawkers and shortage of flyovers at intersections are also causing severe traffic congestions.
New timings for schools and government offices during the Ramadan contributed no less to the already-worst tailback in the capital, city-dwellers said.
Everyday, from morning to late night, thousands of vehicles get stuck in terrible traffic jam for hours.
At rush hours, a distance of three to four kilometres can take about an hour to cross.
Eid shoppers travelling to markets around the capital increased the misery, often leaving two to three rows of parked cars outside popular shopping centres, such as the New Market.
A lot of the shopping malls in the city have resulted in illegal road occupation by vehicles.
“Most internal roads at ward levels in the city are not worthy for even walk for lack or necessary repairs and maintenance,” says a spot account of the situation.
Most of the roads in Dhaka city are congested and narrow. Some roads are quite wide but unauthorized parking makes the wide road congested.
Illegal parking in front of Gausia and Newmarket occupy the roads causing serious traffic congestion in Nilkhet, Newmarket and Dhaka College areas.
In front of various shopping malls in Mirpur road often leaving two to three rows of parked cars outside cause traffic congestion in Mirpur road.
In Kakrail, Malibagh, Santinagor and Mouchak area huge traffic jam is everyday affair due to lots of markets in those areas including Polwel Super Market, City Heart, Karnaphuli Garden City, Twin Tower, Mouchak market and Hosaf shopping complex.
Between Panthapath and Sonargaon intersection the traffic jam at anytime of the day is horrible because of the city’s biggest shopping mall constructed in the area.
During a visit to Gulshan 1 and 2 circles this correspondent found huge traffic jam as many renowned shopping malls and shops are located in those areas.
Destinations like Gulisthan, Motijheel, Old Dhaka, Maghbazar, Malibagh, Gulshan, Banani and Dhanmondi are nightmares for commuters from any point in the city.
Especially frustrating points are Mohakhali, the road in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, Hotel Sonargaon crossing, Elephant Road, Science Laboratory, Green Road, Maghbazar, Mouchak, Malibagh, Khilghaon, Rampura, Jatrabari, Sayedabad, and old parts of the city mainly at Dholaikhal, Postagola, Bangshal, Chowkbazar and Imamganj.
It takes one and a half hours to come to Gulistan from Sadarghat. Without traffic jam it can hardly take 15 to 20 minutes to cross the area.
Traffic police blamed rickshaws for the traffic jam on the Sadarghat-Gulistan road.
Due to the construction works of flyover the roads in Jatrabari area and its surrounding areas have been in the worst condition for a long time.
There are numerous potholes on the roads due to the construction works of the flyover causing huge traffic jam in the area.
To reach Jatrabari from Motijhhel via Saydabad it takes two hours and more due to the dilapidated condition of the road.
Save the Environment Movement few months ago in a press release said, “Private cars in Dhaka have increased about 68 percent between 2003 and 2009, which has caused the traffic congestion to add to the misery.”
According to Bangladesh Road and Transport Authority (BRTA) data that 150 to 180 cars are added everyday to the city street these days, the release added.
Referring to the BRTA data the release said, “There were 87,866 private cars and 32,391 microbuses in 2003 which stood at 0.147 million and 58,608 respectively in 2009.”
Moreover, only 2.0 per cent of the Dhaka residents use private cars making commuting of 10.5 million people difficult.
The release also said since 1988 the government has stopped issuing license for rickshaws but no measures to control private cars.
Rather they have created various facilities like making parking lots, reducing duty on cars, making flyovers and elevated expressways to ensure uninterrupted travel of private cars, the release added.
The organisation stressed the need for developing safe communication systems, improving of public transport alongside controlling the number of private cars to develop communication system.
They alleged that although hawkers are blamed for occupying footpaths it is the private cars and motorcycles that occupy most of the city’s footpaths.
While talking to various DMP traffic officials they said cars parking in front of shopping malls, road digging by various utility service providers, road crossings by pedestrians, unplanned bus stops and occupation of walkways and roads by hawkers are causing severe traffic jam.
They also said they are trying their best to improve the traffic situation in the capital within their limits.
DMP Commissioner Benazir Ahmed at a press briefing at the beginning of Ramdan had said initiatives to ease traffic jam in the city were hindered due to various development projects.