Main roads in capital without zebra crossings


The zebra crossings are visible only on the main roads of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi but missing on many other important roads since they have faded. Experts are of the view that the biggest problem is lack of planning. “We are not thinking from the point of view of pedestrians,” Zia Ur Rehman, a road engineer said on Thursday, adding that “We first think of the motorist who is driving a car”. He said that the planners hade to integrate pedestrian facilities with each infrastructure project. It is meant to give safe passage to people and the drivers are bound to facilitate pedestrians but they do not care about them, he added. “The pedestrian demand from the concerned authorities to launch a campaign for creating awareness among the people by displaying pamphlets about the zebra-crossing to help them save themselves from accidents,” he said.
Wiqas Ahmed, a 60 years old resident of G-7, said that zebra crossings at busy roads of the capital are no more providing a safe passage to the pedestrians, as most of the drivers have no awareness about zebra crossing, so they do not bother to stop and let people cross safely. Senior citizens, women and children, all are seen standing for long at roads in a hope of an easy passage but speedy motorists rarely allow them to step on the road, he maintained. There is no space for pedestrians; all new roads are being built without any provision for footpaths, said a senior citizen named Shahzad Ahmed.
He said that traffic congestion has emerged as a menace over the past couple of years that saw an unprecedented increase in the number of automobiles.
He said hardly any motorists stop for crossing pedestrians at the zebra crossing, forcing them to risk precious lives jumping into heavy traffic. Even educated persons ignore the traffic rules by taking wrong turns, going on the wrong side and in opposite direction on double roads, driving in wrong lanes etc.
When contacted, an official of Islamabad Traffic Police said the department is creating awareness among the masses through launching various campaigns time to time. While another senior citizen Hajra Begum pointed out that the pedestrian bridges erected over different roads were not for aged people and was not disabled people friendly. She said the civic body should build bridges keeping in mind the old and handicapped people.
Over 66,000 paper mulberry trees growing in Capital: Around 66,134 male mulberry trees are growing in the federal capital right under the nose of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and they are posing great threat of pollen allergy to the residents of the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.
An official of the CDA informed that approximately 60,000 paper mulberry trees were growing the regional areas of the Capital while around 6,134 were in the urban areas.
The authority has axed only 15,236 trees from urban areas so far during the last five years and an estimated 6,134 trees would be removed in next three years, he added.
The official said that approximately 60,000 tree of paper mulberry were still growing particularly in the National Park Area and the CDA was facing problem in felling those trees since axing any tree in the National Park Area was not authorised due to legal coverage under Wildlife Ordinance 1979.
He said the Authority was replacing the paper mulberry tree with Amaltas, Kachnar, Jaman and Chir Pine trees.
He said that paper mulberry tree was introduced in Islamabad for urban tree plantation in late 1960s and has spread speedily along the drains and greenbelts. The male trees produce large quantities of pollen in spring season, he added.
Islamabad and Rawalpindi are among the cities with the highest pollen counts in the world where around 80,000 people suffer from pollen allergies every year.
According to a survey, around 500,000 people have been affected by the allergy in the last five years, but the government has made arrangements for the treatment of only around 33,000 people.
The pollen concentration is more in Islamabad as compared to other cities because of population of paper mulberry trees. Its population is maximum in Islamabad whereas almost negligible in other cities. Extremely high concentration of pollen is observed in spring (March-April) and relatively less high pollen concentration in monsoon season. It is responsibility of the Civic agency and city administration to axe and replace all paper mulberry trees with others at war footing.