Stories about traffic

Islamabad Etcetera: Accursed ambulators!

Footpath walkers or street corner loafers, pedestrians to the genteel public, these pavement grinders are a contemptible lot. One will not recourse to anathema or expletives here, for it is not the place, contenting oneself instead with whatever is uttered under the breath but one feels a sheer tyranny at the hands of these seemingly unassuming ‘bystanders’. Do not of course mistake this for classicist spiel, for one’s issue is not say of condescension but the mere pragmatism of these people and the jeopardy (what a reversal!) that they put motorists in. The impulse to cross a road, to ford it, is ...

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We don’t need you Mustafa Kamal!

It was a bright, sunny morning and I was already late for work so I was driving a little too fast. I had to finish a few things as it was the day before the Eid holiday. When the Ayesha Manzil traffic signal turned green, I sped towards Liaquatabad when suddenly I saw two young girls wearing college uniforms, stumble while trying to cross the road. In a span of just 2-3 seconds, I saw a motorcyclist slip in an effort to prevent crashing in to the girls. I hit the brakes and managed to park my car in front ...

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Roadblocks: A field of a hundred bombs

“We are standing in a field of a hundred bombs.” One of my colleagues has a penchant for dramatic statements, but this time he was not exaggerating. Having recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan, he was in a position to talk about what constitutes a security hazard. A hundred cars packed snugly into the space before a road-block, with most engines running on CNG, is not merely a question of inconvenience. It is a disaster waiting for ignition. It should be self-evident that the elements seeking to strike terror look for maximum impact, given their resources. Shrines, mosques and market-places are ...

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We want villains

Why do we throw shoes at people? Why do we send jokes deprecating our democratic leaders? Why do our status messages wittingly and bitingly comment on political disasters? Because we want to sleep at night. We are good citizens, we are good people and we prove this by indulging in the aforementioned acts of patriotism. We are horrified at the corruption around us and we would never ever be tempted by wealth and power, oh no! We are too good for that. And to prove it we have modern day Mephistopheles. Vilified by the media and condemned by the general populace, we have elevated some people to the status of the ...

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Ramazan without traffic jams

Prolonged traffic jams in Karachi had been the order of the day and used to get worse during Ramazan. Even this year, Ramazan began with jammed roads and people controlling the traffic on their own due to the absence of traffic police. However, once again the city wardens – a system put in place by former city nazim Mustafa Kamal – were soon mobilised and since then, there have hardly been any reports of major traffic problems in the city. The introduction of city wardens is one of the many good initiatives taken by the former city government. Though Kamal is no longer in power, most of the systems introduced during his ...

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Monsoon magic in Mumbai

The monsoons have always been special for every Bombayite/Mumbaikar, and no matter how much the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) tries to make us hate the rains with the potholes, mismanaged traffic and water logging, one can’t help love the monsoon magic. The city looks the best during this season as the skyline changes colours from different hues of crimson to blue to grey. Those endless walks on Marine Drive, Carter Road and Worli Sea Face suddenly seem to have a different appeal all together. The wind blows through your hair and the waves kiss your cheeks during high tide and splash ...

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Development in Karachi? Not really

From completing work on Signal Free Corridor 1, inaugurating the third corridor on August 14 to the current work on corridor 4, the City District Government of Karachi has built over a dozen flyovers and underpasses to revamp the city – something it takes much pride in. While former nazim Mustafa Kamal and his team at the CDGK have worked full speed ahead to develop Karachi during his tenure, I have resevations about the impact it will have. All I see is a very short term solution to an ever worsening problem. Billions are being dished out to facilitate an absolute waste of hard-earned ...

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Mera Karachi

I know things haven’t exactly been very rosy in Karachi of late, but I was out and about yesterday, and couldn’t help but notice how drastically travel times across the city have been reduced. Although admittedly, it was a working day and I was not exactly out at a rush hour (it was 4pm-ish), but kudos to the city government for doing a great job of planning and maintaining the infrastructure in the city. And thanks to the signal-free corridors, I was able to get from North Karachi to Malir Cantt in a mere 25 minutes. Imagine that! I’m sure ...

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Traffic chaos in Lahore, a public policy failure

Traffic in Lahore is chaotic, unruly and the roads are often jam packed with traffic of all sorts. Increasing traffic poses a big challenge for all those institutes responsible for planning, devising and implementing transport policies. Traffic is chaotic because drivers, whether of a bus, wagon, car, rickshaw or motorcycle, like driving in their own peculiar way. They are always in such a hurry that most of the time they even forget whether they intended to turn left or right. They carelessly park their vehicles on the sides of congested roads without realising that their vehicle may end up blocking ...

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