The peak traffic hours remain a horror across Srinagar. It takes hours to travel a distance of a few kilometres to work. And there is no hope that the things can improve anytime soon. Until then, the traffic congestion will continue to strangle Srinagar city. A chaotic spectacle plays out on the streets every day. According to a study, more than 62 per cent of the Valleys traffic enters Srinagar daily and clogs the citys roads. As a sample area for the study, the Traffic police department had demarcated the stretch between: Jahangir Chowk and Dalgate, TRC crossing via MA Road and Amira Kadal which amounts to some six kilometers of total road length in the three operational lanes.
But there are fewer roads which dont experience a gridlock for the entire day. But the peak hour traffic witnesses the worst logjams. The heart of this chaos is the stretch of road extending from Tourist Reception Centre through Lal Chowk to Hari Singh High Street and then onwards to Rambagh, where the traffic from all sides converges and gets stuck. The passenger vehicles, cars, SUVs, autos etc all mingle and reduce the movement to fits and starts.
This state of affairs is unlikely to change anytime soon. For years now, Srinagar has been reeling under the ever increasing volume of the traffic. On the contrary, the situation is likely to worsen before it gets any better. The reason is well-known: the citys road length is not commensurate with the exponential growth in the traffic volume. Belatedly though, the Government has now woken up to the challenge. In 2016, Government had drawn up the plan of a 115 km long ring road for Srinagar. The Town Planning Organization was asked to incorporate the ambitious project in the revised Master Plan for the city. The three-tier ring road would connect East and North areas of the city with those on the West side. Most of the three-tier ring road would comprise four to eight lane roads. The pre-feasibility report of the road has already been completed in 2011 and the nod received from the centre for its funding
On the other hand, the work on a flyover connecting Hari Singh Street with Rambagh is being accelerated to make it ready for the traffic by 2018. However, even when the flyover is ready, it is unlikely to make a redeeming difference. The reason is that it will still fall short of the growth in traffic. By the time the projects designed to address todays gridlocks come to fruition, more urban growth makes traffic jams an unending problem. The need is for our city planners to think for the long term. Their approach has to be comprehensive rather than adhocist in nature. The projects which should have been conceived and implemented a decade ago are being taken up now. The expansion of the citys roads is desperately needed but not only with an eye to fix todays problems but the handle the future traffic of an ever-expanding city.
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