Making the obvious work

Mahmudur Rahman | Published: November 03, 2018 21:49:24 | Updated: November 09, 2018 21:24:53

A traffic policeman stopping a mini-truck from taking a wrong turn while a volunteer urging jaywalkers to use the nearby overbridge in a bid to ensure discipline on the road in the capital’s Banglamotor area – FE photo

There are the obvious and there are the not so obvious, that prop up the surrealistic world of traffic control. That it is in a mess is beyond doubt; that it can be fixed is also beyond doubt.

 It took a bunch of school children to show us the way and red-faced cops then went about doing what they should have been doing in the first place. That was for as long media attention was focused. Before we know it we're back to square one.

Legunas went off the streets only to make surreptitious returns and vehicles of questionable fitness are finding their way back too, albeit armed with papers issued at lightening speed. The till boxes tinkled and revenue poured in but the situation didn't improve. The obvious in terms of proper papers and licenses are now matching the number of vehicles. Gimlet-eyed traffic police are taking photographs to identify wrongly parked vehicles but other forms of vehicles are out of the purview  of such sentinel duty. Petrol pumps are credited for not supplying fuel to non-helmeted two wheelers but the temporary ceasing of mindless speed competition is slowly staging a comeback. Buses are sneaking in to the narrowest of gaps, merrily ignoring bus stoppage regions and not shirking away from parking anywhere to let passengers off and on. And for all the warnings and tragedies the hop-step-jump of commuters to clamber on to such transport continues unabated as does the habitual jaywalking. Roadside parking even for a few minutes is a cardinal sin; reserved for the private cars. Tucked away in the bye-roads and alleys it doesn't matter.

It's the not so obvious measures that will ultimately prevail. Traffic lights installed at public cost are essentially overruled by baton-wielding cops; helpless police are still to work out measures to deter delinquent mo-bikers and rickshaws are laws unto themselves. The system of docking points on driving licenses for misdemeanours are in the offing and should work if implemented properly. Jaywalking fines have to be introduced and implemented and zebra crossings to back-up foot over-bridges have to be spread out more and more.

Public parking spaces are taking too long to identify and introduce though the zoning system is essentially working in the Gulshan areas where certain roads are open and others closed to parking. Similar zoning for vehicle movement based on odd and even numbers successfully trialled in India could be another workable solution as could CNG and rickshaw zoning such as implemented in Gulshan, Banani and Cantonment areas. Disallowing commercial buildings without adequate parking facilities is now a necessity rather than luxury and mo-bike, e-rack systems are the crying need of the hour. And lest we forget, public transport for school children has to be made mandatory.


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