By Fareeha Qayoom
his October, my commute went from ten minutes to an hour and ten minutes at the minimum – in rush hour, sometimes, it can be more. Yes, the workplace has moved to the outskirts of the city. (No, I haven’t changed jobs). Now, I have real opportunity to travel on the main arterial roads that connect various districts of Lahore.
I must commend Mian Shahbaz Sharif for his forethought in bringing a little sanity to the chaos that was our roads before he undertook to create a little efficiency. Sorting out the Kalma Chowk Crossing, Ferozpur Road, Main Canal Bank Road, Peco Road, Khayban-e-Firdosi, Khayban-e-Jinnah, LDA Avenue Crossing, linking Raiwind Road to the main city, constructing bridges and underpasses and traffic lights and re-routing traffic to move more quickly has made life easy for commuters who have to get to point Z from point A. A lot of people live down there now.
I have been traveling down these roads for the past ten days. Yes, Peco Road is a nightmare at any time of the day. Especially at evening and at night; the traffic is real crazy – mini buses, buses, cyclists, motor cyclists, donkey carts, cars all race to the next traffic light like there is no tomorrow.
My advice – if you can avoid traveling on it and can take alternative route, please do so. There are various exits built on this road that can help. I’d rather go the longer way and go through the Barkat market exit to get to the Ferozpur Road than cross the entire Peco Road to get to DHA; (the optimum route according to Google maps is via Ali Akbar road via DHA Rahber to Raiwind Road from my place but it’s the most dangerous route imaginable. I took this route once when a colleague of mine showed me the way from DHA to US Apparel on Defence Road. He drove like a maniac, I just followed him in my car but it was the scariest ride of my life! He had three close shaves with huge trucks, each time I thought, this is it, he’s going to die. We survived to tell the tale but never again. Only guys can go this route. Don’t recommend this route for women alone).
Going via Barkat Market, Garden Town to Ferozpur Road is also the more scenic route, I get to see the famous red metro bus in action as well…the traffic is more sane. There are fewer traffic lights or at least you feel less frustrated while you drive down these chaotic roads because every hour is rush hour. There is no letup. The traffic is crazy whatever hour of the day you happen to be on it. I know because I have put in late hours at work many times and each time, the traffic has been wild, no matter its six or seven or eight or nine or even ten in the evenings. This is actually a blessing because I wouldn’t like to travel on these roads alone late at night if there was no traffic…it would be a nightmare.
Bottom line, thank God for roads!