Devising better traffic management but how?


At the outset, it gives some sort of satisfaction that the traffic system, its management, its woes and its plunging into a total mess in Jammu and Srinagar even in outskirts is at least recognised by the UT administration. The administration having very recently directed the concerned officers to devise a better plan for traffic management that could address issues on short term and long term requirements as also the ones emerging on the spot on day to day basis. The proposed devising of a plan based on proper assessment and associated factors , the existing bottlenecks in the entire traffic system etc need to be critically analysed. It denotes that nothing new was going to be added to or to be provided so as to have the system, which is nothing short of being in a choked state, getting somewhat smoothened. It also means, in simple parlance, that such a plan could have been devised much earlier but was not done either because the concerned officers were not in know of it and were not properly acquainted with or some sort of training not imparted or they were simply wilfully not doing it. We leave that to no conjectures. The only immediate recourse for absolutely short rather shortest ”gains” on the ground is nothing more than launching a campaign against parking of vehicles on roads , not only the manner and the method thereof. The fact of the matter is that the condition or the levels of traffic chaos in Jammu in particular, are such that it leaves no scope or any sort of margin for parking of vehicles on the roads not only agreeably parking in such a way that causes obstruction or inconvenience or poses danger to other people . Where are the vehicle owners supposed to go or do in respect of parking their vehicles . What we very often see on a few roads during some peak hours , undoubtedly symbolically, is that “defaulting” or wrongly parked vehicles are towed away by traffic police cranes and challans registered against the owners or fines recovered from them. Was that the only solution thought of as is otherwise seen when the Traffic personnel are heard saying that “Today is the movement” and therefore enforce strict rather no parking at all en-route the “movement” for the specified two to three hours of that movement . After that , again , back to square one. This peculiar term perhaps denotes some movement or an inspection or a tour itinerary of some top Police Officer hence roads ”shown” with traffic running smoothly . Should that be the only approach to take on the massive traffic problem? Should , again , on those few occasions only , traffic personnel be ”seen” on duty on roads specific of that ”movement” and not otherwise without prejudice to the challenging assignment given to the Traffic Police who are generally expected to be present on duty on such roads otherwise in the normal course also to monitor the traffic. The proposed plan cannot, in fact, be found fault with as what ought to be done to address the traffic problem , the points suggested can make much of a difference but with certain conditions only. It is presumed that such a plan is to worked out and implemented all in the absence of provision of and providing network of widened roads, flyovers, metro rail services, prescribing minimum speed limits of vehicles in the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar etc , removing of encroachments on footpaths and the sides of the roads, specific and demarked places for boarding and de-boarding of passengers in respect of passenger vehicles and the list is long. Basically, like most of the economic problems being on account of the pattern of demand and supply curves , traffic problems too behave or exist on account of that factor. In other words, traffic problem of the current magnitude is a mismatch between availability of widened roads and the glut of ever increasing number of vehicles plying over them. Tackle it , the traffic problem is solved. Since that cannot be done overnight , certain measures can be adopted seriously so as to ease the traffic situation . First of all, passenger vehicles ferrying passengers / staff / students etc may stop only at specified points for letting in passengers and dropping them . This accepted deviation contributes to long queues of vehicles, tail to tail, as passenger vehicles stop wherever they wish to let in or drop a passenger . Secondly, prescribe a minimum speed limit so that the speed factor does not allow crawling of vehicles behind a passenger vehicle ”busy” in boarding and deboarding of passengers and creating traffic jams. Parking lots at short distances inter-se, should be provided , of course, on payment basis to address erratic and haphazard parking. Parking of vehicles overnight on public roads and lanes should be strictly banned so that roads are kept free not only for normal smooth traffic movement but particularly and especially for emergency /medical/ fire/police services. Traffic rules awareness must form the part and parcel of effective traffic management. Fresh registration of new vehicles should be made conditional related to the prospective vehicle owner having sufficient space for overnight parking at home. For this, even a legislative measure may be taken. Heavy vehicles, loaded trucks etc should not be allowed to ply during peak hours of the day on roads. More traffic personnel should be deployed and seen as well, on roads to contain traffic violations. During hot scorching hours of summer, traffic personnel must have certain protective gears , covers etc to make their duty on roads free of hazards and quite effective