By Fareeha Qayoom
I hate driving on Lahore Roads. Sigh.
Lahore traffic is quite crazy – no, let me rephrase that – Lahore drivers are quite crazy. You take your life in your own hands when you venture out on these roads. Bikes, Motor Bikes, Pedestrians, cars, buses, rickshaws, vans and scooters all are racing to some mythical finish line. There are no rules except “every man for himself” and “the last man standing is a loser!”
It takes me approximately 30-45 minutes to cross three neighborhoods (DHA and Gulberg to reach Model Town) in my daily commute to work. I have to drop my younger brother off in Gulberg – unfortunately, I have to go through at least two dangerous traffic circles in the course of my obstacle race to work. By the way, the traffic circles are only dangerous in Pakistan…Popular research actually lauds them as a good alternative to intersections with traffic lights as the traffic flow is better and traffic doesn’t pile up. Unfortunately, in Lahore, Pakistan, since anarchy rules, I consider them quite dangerous. Getting off and getting on them is fraught with danger. Drivers don’t follow the proper etiquette.
I don’t speed within city limits – I consider 40-50 kilometers per hour fairly moderate speed. I think there is no point –I prefer driving in the slow lane except than you get the bulk of rickshaws, bikes and motor bikes – (not that, motor bikes and bikes keep to their lane; they also like living dangerously…you know, racing with cars and frequently meander between the slow and fast lanes instead of sticking to their own! Sometimes you end up with horse carriages too!) – You have to move to the fast lane just to survive! Pure nightmare on Alam Street! But that’s still okay…it’s still bearable.
However, you know what? I hate traffic circles…I don’t know who invented these contraptions? I don’t know why they have not been replaced by ordinary and plain intersections with traffic lights in Gulberg as they were in DHA? However, they should be replaced as soon as possible! Have you tried the traffic circle on Main Boulevard/Liberty lately- it is a nightmare in rush hour.
Can it be replaced any time soon with traffic lights – Is it too much to ask?
Probably yes – since the city, provincial and federal governments are all stuck solving major crisis like NRO, corruption and insurgency – who has time to sort the little problems like replacing traffic circles with traffic lights?