The sound ‘Rawalpindi city’ reminds one of recurrent traffic jams, vehicles moving at a snail’s pace for kilometres. Wherever you want to go, alongside all the busy roads of the city, some well-known bourgeoning medical clinics, restaurants shops and other businesses are located. But Saidpur road is prominent.
“I live in one of the streets of Saidpur Road near Gulzar Hotel. Once upon a time, Pindiites preferred this some kilometre stretch from Banni Chowk to Pindora Chowk for an easy evening drive. But it is not an easy task anymore,” says Sibte Hasan.
Sajjad Rizvi says: “Once the tea shops frequented by youngsters were situated a small distance away from my residence. Apart from the tea shops, halwa, puri and pakora shops, some other eateries were also located on the stretch. Traffic too was restricted to tongas and private cars. Today, the scene has changed completely.”
“Perennial traffic jams make the journey difficult for students, government and corporate sector employees, among others, on their way to work in and around the I-9 industrial sector. In the last few years a variety of shops and plazas have mushroomed on this road. The development in terms of trade has brought problems too with it,” says Hasrat Hussain.
“The greenery alongside the stretch has made way for some concrete structures. The road is packed with restaurants, shops, eating outlets and timber stores apart from innumerable CNG stations and the greenery has almost become non-existent,” says Samar Ali.
“Saidpur Road is now operating at saturation point with the burgeoning traffic. A large number of vehicles plying on the stretch causes real delays. Delays are exacerbated by the trucks. With no arterial roads, a traffic pileup can sometimes last for quite a long time as the quantity of cars and motorcycles plying on the stretch continues to increase,” says Syed Oun Rizvi.
Sehrish Fatima says: “This road was a happy riding stretch when it came up decades ago. But now, it’s the nightmare of motorists. I always keep away from it.”
Since my shop is located here, I feel I’m the victim of poor planning,’’ says Rizwan Haider, a chemist shop employee.
“Despite the heavy traffic and pedestrian movement, the road is poorly lit at night. Messy potholes in road, bikers darting across the road and ever increasing variety of vehicles has added to the chaos,” says Muntazir Mehdi.
“Lack of infrastructure and dismal regulation has led to several traffic violations. The area, which was on one occasion largely restricted to residential purposes, is these days being occupied for commercial purposes,” laments Ghulam Abbas.
Employees like me working in and around the I-9 industrial sector have to go through the mad rush daily,” says Alamdar Naqvi.