Traffic Mayhem: Roads are not parking lots

Instead of expanding existing roads and building new ones to avert routine traffic mess, the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has established several parking lots on main roads, which is one of the major reasons behind severe traffic mess and problems on different points in the Punjab capital.

Originally published as : Car parking lots on main roads add to traffic mess
By: Jam Sajjad Hussain 

“The City Traffic Police department is under immense pressure on this illogical move of the CDGL, as the local government has given public places, main roads and imperative chowks on contracts where dozens of private parking lots have been established,” a top officer of traffic police said on the condition of anonymity. He said a major part of the main road outside Aiwan-e-Adl, the entire service road near Panorama Shopping Mall, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education on Lawrence Road, Excise and Taxation Office at Fareed Kot, the middle point of Anarkali Road and private parking lots have been established on several others points in the City.

Similarly, hundreds of shopping plazas and food outlets in Gulberg, Cantonment, Model Town and other posh areas have been established in the City after 1996 but none of these have ever ensured their personal parking places. Only two shopping plazas including Panorama Centre on The Mall and D-Point Plaza in Shah Alam Market have their own parking facilities but yet the customers park their vehicles outside these plazas, where the CDGL has given parking lots on private contracts.

Top guns of the City and Regional Planning Department believe that the Punjab Transport Department, Traffic Engineering and Planning Authority (NEPA), CDGL, Urban Unit of Planning and Development Department, City Traffic Police and other government departments and bodies are responsible for managing, planning and addressing the traffic and transport issues. “But, none of these bodies have ever adopted any permanent and tangible solution for traffic mess,” they added. They further said that, interestingly, all of the aforesaid departments lack coordination and work in complete isolation and implement their separate plans.

An NEPA officer seeking anonymity said since 1980, no major road has been expanded except Ferozepur Road, Jail Road and couple of others. “Ring Road is the only fruitful addition in the City’s arteries net but the traffic volume has increased manifold within the last 30 years in the provincial capital but no tangible strategy has been adopted,” he added.

Citizen Muhammad Aslam, 62, has to face severe inconvenience daily as the road from Chuburji to Data Darbar is always blocked near Aiwan-e-Adl. “I have to drop my daughter (a student of class seven) on bicycle near Chuburji but I stuck in the traffic mess but I have no alternative route except this,” he commented. Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif constituted a special committee comprising Commissioner Lahore Jawad Rafiq Malik, DCO Ahad Cheema, LDA DG and PHA DG Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, Secretary Schools Aslam Kamboh, Secretary Colleges Haseeb Athar and CTO Ahmed Mobin. The committee was assigned a special assignment to conduct a comprehensive survey of private/government schools and colleagues about parking facilities.

The committee was scheduled to hold 2nd meeting on September 16 but due to the prevailing situation of dengue fever, the meeting was cancelled.

Talking to this scribe, the CTO said: “We have identified total 203 schools and colleges, which have parking lots but they lack proper arrangements.” He said out of total strength of around, 144 are private schools/colleges whereas 59 government educational institutions also fall in the list. He further said that owing to insufficient arrangements and lacking management skills, the roads are blocked and the City observes severe traffic mess during school timings. He, however, said the final recommendations would be submitted in 2nd meeting of the aforesaid committee, which would be held soon.

The Nation