Traffic, parking problems making capital no-go area
* Number of vehicles in Islamabad sharply increased
ISLAMABAD: Like other business centres in the country, the Blue Area in the capital city has been facing growing traffic and parking problems over the past a few years.
The number of vehicles in the city had sharply increased, thanks to easy auto loans that helped middle-class families buy cars. In Islamabad, the number of registered vehicles in 1998 was 60,000, while in March 2005, the number increased to 340,000, according to an official of the vehicle registration authority. This did not include vehicles in Islamabad that were registered elsewhere.
This rapid increase in vehicles had created problems including increased accidents, air and noise pollution and extra congestion on the already over burdened roads.
A few years ago, traffic jams in Islamabad were uncommon but now, have become a routine. The congestion in the area has become unbearable.
Another major problem motorists faced was parking, as one made several rounds in the area to find parking space.
According to reports, the Capital Development Authority officials responsible for approving the construction plans of multi-storey plazas had not foreseen the parking problems.
CDA had made the Fazal-e-Haq road dual-carriage 15 years ago. Special parking on one side of the road was provided to facilitate people who had offices or shops in these plazas and the planners had never asked the owners of the plazas to build under-ground parking. But the facility was overburdened due to an increase in population and the number of vehicles.
Encroachments had also added to the problem.
Muhammad Saleem, an owner of a garments store, said that he had parked his car at least 500 yards away because he could not find a parking space near the store. He said that sometimes it took 10 to 15 minutes to find parking. “Where should we park our vehicle,” asked one woman looking for parking.
A traffic police official in the area said that people needed to be educated in parking their cars. He said that if people parked their cars properly, less space would be used leaving more parking area for others.
Hayat Khan, CDA public relations director, said that the authority was aware of the situation and was taking steps to redress the problem. He added that the CDA was mulling over building multi-storey parking plazas in Blue Area.
To address the traffic congestion problem, he said that the authority would build under passes at major crossings. In the first phase, three underpasses would be built at Faisal Avenue crossing, Kalsoom Plaza crossing and China Chowk.