‘Flyovers and expressway cannot solve traffic congestion in the port city of Chattogram,’ said transport planner Subash Barua, who is also the vice president of Forum for Planned Chittagong, a platform comprising architects, urban planners and professionals.
Construction of the flyovers to ease traffic jam had been an ‘unplanned’ move and they could not ease the traffic jam in Chattogram, he said.
The problem lied on the poor implementation of Chittagong Metropolitan Master Plan 1995, which clearly laid emphasis on traffic and transport management.
Concerned agencies have been spending crores of money to construct flyovers instead of solving the basic problems.
He said that at present Chittagong Development Authority was implementing the expressway project at a cost of Tk 3,250 crore, which will facilitate smooth communication along an 18 km route from Lalkhan Bazaar to Shah Amanat International Airport after completion.
Subash Barua’s argument against such a project has a logical basis. He said CDA was constructing it so that VIPs and CIPs could reach the airport quickly. However, any forms of sustainable development practice never appreciated these kinds of development work which only served the purpose of the 2 per cent.
Instead of spending Tk 3250 crore, the government could have completed the Bay Container Terminal of Chattogram Port promptly. It could also set up few necessary junctions and separate lanes for vehicles by which 70 per cent traffic congestion could be solved.
‘Construction work of Bay Terminal and Patenga Container Terminal should get more priority as these two things can help to ease the gridlock in the port city,’ he observed.
Chattogram Port Authority is going to construct a bay terminal in the Bay of Bengal, off the Patenga coast, in the city’s Halishahar Ananda Bazar area at an estimated cost of Tk 17,500 crore.
‹At first, CPA wants to construct yard on private land. Then they would construct truck terminal. There would be three terminals — 1,500-metre multipurpose terminal, 1,225-metre container terminal and another 830-metre container terminal. It would lessen the pressure on the airport road as everyday some 5000-6000 trucks ply the port area causing severe traffic congestions,› Subash explained.
Besides Engineering Department of the Bangladesh Army is constructing Patenga Container Terminal, which is situated between Chittagong Dry Dock and Boat Club in the city’s Patenga area. A 420-metre-long flyover would be constructed under the terminal project for the airport bound vehicles to avoid traffic congestion for the container vehicles of PCT, he said.
So, these two should be completed on a priority basis to ease the port city’s traffic congestion, Subash pointed out.
The transport planner said that transport management was also equally important.
He said inadequate public vehicles like city service buses, lack of parking places, shortage of roads, non-coordination between concerned agencies including CDA, traffic department of Chattogram Metropolitan Police and Chattogram City Corporation were the key causes of the traffic congestion in Chattogram.
So, he emphasised that mass rapid transport system be developed to ease the sufferings of the commuters.
‘Private vehicles should be discouraged and controlled in the city, he said, adding that the main focus of the transport system should be on bringing discipline on the footpaths and ensuring commuters’ access to public transport,’ he said.
Public buses or vehicles were inadequate to carry the growing number of office-going people in the port city. There were inadequate public buses in the city. Most of them were used to carry reserve passengers, he observed and added that as a result, a large number of people had to rely on small vehicles like rickshaws or CNG-run auto-rickshaws, which, in effect, created traffic jams.
There existed nothing that could be referred to as ‘traffic management’ in the port city. Even roads were not constructed properly. Where we needed road the width of around 120 feet, the concerned agency was constructing a road the width of 60 feet, he said.
‹There is a misconception that traffic police is assigned to manage the city’s traffic, but this is completely wrong. CMP traffic department is to enforce the traffic law.
There should be a separate planning department where planners would plan in short-term and long-term basis for the city,› he suggested.
‹So,› Subash Barua put it in a nutshell, ‹institutional changes are must to end sufferings from traffic jam.
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