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A wonderful idea but . . . !

Islamabad

May 11, 2019

Islamabad : It was so wonderful to know how concerned the Chief of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) is about the safety of pedestrians, getting killed or hurt to various degrees of injuries in traffic accidents while crossing the roads and highways where there are no over-head pedestrian bridges available for them to cross over safely.

But one wonders if he has blurted out without having a look at the data, if any is available anywhere in the department, as to how many such road accidents have occurred on the roads and highways of the federal capital and what specific points?

We, somehow, have this feeling that if he may care to look for the information he might find his stomach in knots because a vast majority of accidents involving pedestrians crossing the roads and highways have occurred where there are very good pedestrian over-head bridges available.

Even more shocking fact may turn out to be that among those accidents a majority have occurred right under such pedestrian bridges already constructed at strategic locations on the highways and avenues of the federal capital.

In fact, we believe the ITP chief might find the truth even more startling that the whole thing is not about constructing more over-head pedestrian bridges but enforcing the law and making people use those bridges instead of putting their own lives in danger and making the motorists have nightmarish driving tests!

If one is not wrong, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has constructed 11 over-head pedestrian/motorbike crossing bridges on the Islamabad highway from Zero Point up to Koral Chowk. It is about 15.4 km signal-free 5-lane-a-side stretch.

From Zero Point to Faizabad inter-change, there are two strategically located over-head pedestrian/motorbike crossing bridges in addition to one fly-over at Garden Avenue intersection. From Faizabad inter-change to Koral Chowk there are 9 overhead pedestrian/motorbike crossing bridges, constructed at strategic locations.

We believe the CDA has also put up large warning boards in yellow color, which could not be missed by any passers-by, clearly stating: “Crossing ‘Islamabad Expressway’ (or even the 7th and 9th Avenues) on foot is dangerous and strictly prohibited.”

However, it is widely observed that people openly flout these warnings and instead of using these over-head bridges, they prefer to cross these expressways and highways on foot, risking their own lives and putting the motorists in even greater danger.

The ITP chief might find it shocking or may be amusing, even on the Jinnah Avenue, where the very strong dual steel railings have been erected to keep ‘Metro Bus Service’ route to ply it smoothly, people have taken off some spikes from those railing at more than one spot through which they cross over despite the fact that they can easily cross through the under-passes constructed at the Metro Bus Service stations!

The fact is that there is 1 km (one kilometre) or in some cases even less, distance between two Metro Bus Stations. Anybody intending to cross over to either side on the Jinnah Avenue need to walk 500 meters or may be even less for a safe crossing!

So, it is not a matter of providing more and more over-head bridges for pedestrians on the Islamabad Highways or Avenues, the issue is implementation of rules and regulations.

One wonders whose responsibility is it to make people use these underpasses or the over-head bridges to cross over these highways and avenues. Whether the CDA is required to deploy staff at these points and monitoring teams to convince and prevent people breaking the rules or the ITP officials need to shoulder this responsibility or the Islamabad Police has to step forward and enforce these rules.

Or, an effective awareness campaign would be considered enough to convince people to use these overhead bridges or underpasses to cross over the highways and avenues?

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