A Traffic Engineering cell needs to be created to study, analyse, design and suggest solutions to the traffic problems in the city of Srinagar.
The geometrics of the existing roads need to be improved by way of widening at necessary spots according to the designed plan.
Ring roads to be provided around the city having three to four lane width on each of the two parallel roads with designed crossings.
Properly designed Lay-byes for bus-stops need to be provided at fixed bus stops and the bus drivers be directed to eliminate boarding/de-boarding in between.
Defunct traffic signals and street lights need to be reactivated and maintained properly.
CCTV cameras be fixed at strategic spots to monitor the traffic rule violations and deductions of fines be made from the bank accounts of the drivers responsible for the violation. This will avoid the sight of traffic police on roadsides as in outside countries.
Public need to be educated about the traffic rules as pedestrian must be aware of the risks involved in walking through the vulnerable motor transport.
IRC Specification needs to be followed strictly in making foot paths usable. An example can be quoted about the 90-ft. 4-lane corridor, where height of foot-path has been provided about 2 feet against the IRC specification of 9 inches only.
Road signs, speed limits and the destination names need to be depicted prominently in bold letters on roadsides as observed by me in the gulf countries.
Shady trees need to be grown on the foot paths with proper slopes at crossing points to make pedestrians walking comfortable.
Vendors continue to occupy footpaths leaving no space for the pedestrians like at Batmaloo, Hari-Singh High Street, Lal Chowk, Soura road at SKIMS etc. The menace continues to grow despite earmarking of vendor zones by SMC.
Unused footpaths on 90 ft. road and at other places are illegally used for parking the cars on sale by the dealers which needs to be checked.
Pedestrian crossings need to be provided with signal system as in outside countries. Over-head bridges like the one outside Women’s College have become redundant.
SkewD bridge on river Jhelum with substructure constructed for motorable bridge with a huge investment of Rs. 12 Crores needs to be re-decked to make it trafficable.
In spite of the day-time ban on the entry of trucks/tippers in the city roads, violation has been observed by the tippers moving at breathtaking speed on 90 ft. road and other internal roads during day time.
SMC tucks lifting city waste from the road-sides during peak hours of the traffic movement causes traffic jams. The process needs to be carried out in night hours as per practice outside.
In most of the city roads both sides of the roads remain occupied by the parked vehicles leaving little space for the on-going traffic resulting in traffic jams.
Introduce mechanised inland water transport on river Jhelum and other water bodies, the DPR for which was prepared by M/S RITES in 1998-99 when I was its Project Director. This would release lot of stress on city transport besides serve as tourist attraction opening heritage sites and revive old trade centres on river banks.
The unfinished Urban Renewal Scheme under Circular Road Project where I served as Executive Engineer needS to be completed at fast track.
The number of vehicle-permits need to be restricted to the available road surface area in the city and other urban areas.
Multi-storeyed parking lots need to be planned and constructed according to the increasing day to day demands.
SMC must ensure the implementation of the condition recorded on the building permissions of shopping malls to provide parking space in their basement floors. So far this condition has been found getting violated and unchecked.
Dare-devil youths are driving bikes at breathtaking speeds resulting into accidents. This need to be checked with heavy penalties.
Most of the road surface in the city has got dilapidated due to severe winter conditions resulting into the damage of vehicles besides snake-like movement of vehicles to avoid pot-holes causing accidents. Most of the summer season is over and the restoration of the damages is still pending.
Noise pollution caused by sounding pressure horns by trucks etc. needs to be checked. Blowing a horn is discouraged in outside countries except on rare occasions.
Regional bus stands at Pantha Chowk for south Kashmir and Parimpora for north side need to be well developed joined with city transport.
Lane driving needs to be got implemented strictly after developing the required infrastructure.
Cycle tracks need to be provided around Dal-Lake and along Jhelum banks besides other roads. Bicycles can be provided to tourists and locals on hire as practiced in outside countries.
Rapid transport facility like metro rail and extension of railways to other districts of the State be planned and executed in time-bound manner.
Dispersal of trade centres , offices and construction of satellite townships on hill slopes and karewas need to be planned to reduce concentration of traffic in city centre.
Life expired uncomfortable mini-buses need to be got replaced with comfortable Mazda buses to avoid frequent accidents particularly on hill roads.
Make public transport more comfortable for preferable use. I have found travelling in city buses more comfortable than in taxis in UAE.
Many technically approved projects are sabotaged by politicians and bureaucrats like Inland Water Transport on river Jhelum, Skewed bridge on river Jhelum near Convent School, Lal Mandi bridge on river Jhelum, which needs to be avoided.
(These suggestion were presented at a seminar on “Traffic Problems in Srinagar” at the State Centre of The Institution of Engineers (India) last month)
Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE C.Eng (I) is former Chief Engineer.