LAHORE: Plans to convert MM Alam Road into Pedestrian Street

Citizens doubtful of govt’s implementation techniques

* LHC CJ’s instructions to convert MM Alam, 19 other streets into ‘no parking’ zones not implemented
* Shopping centre customer says government must provide adequate parking facilities if it converts road
* MPA Dr Saeed Elahi says project will be implemented soon

By Rana Tanveer

The city’s residents are doubtful of the government’s intentions to convert MM Alam Road into a pedestrian street, as the previous project to convert it into a no-parking zone had not been implemented properly, sources told Daily Times on Wednesday.

On February 9, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in a meeting with senior officials, decided to limit the flow of traffic in all major cities of the province at busy shopping centres and roads under a ‘phased programme’. He said the implementation of the project would save people from the heavy traffic currently found at these locations. He also issued directions to consider developing MM Alam Road into a pedestrian street equipped with modern facilities. He said people would travel on special buses allocated by the government for the purpose instead of driving their own vehicles on the road, adding that this would just be the first step at all busy shopping centres of the city.

No parking: The Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice (CJ) on April 10, 2007 after examining a detailed report submitted by the then Punjab Traffic Police deputy inspector general (DIG), directed the DIG to convert MM Alam Road and 19 other areas of the city into ‘no parking’ zones. However, the traffic police failed to implement the LHC’s directions.

Rafique Ahmed, a motorist on MM Alam Road, said he had been ecstatic over the Punjab government’s decision of converting MM Alam Road into a ‘no parking’ zone, adding that he was deeply disappointed by the government’s lack of implementation. He said MM Alam Road was famous for the number of shopping centres present on the road as well as the variety of eateries present, adding that, therefore, it was essential to convert the road, as traffic was always blocked during the afternoon and at night. He said he mostly avoided going to MM Alam Road at such times.

Facilities: Amir Umar, a customer at a shopping centre, said he preferred going to MM Alam Road on foot, as he was always forced to park his car away from the shop he wanted to go to because of a lack of parking facilities on the road. He said he avoided travelling on the road and used parallel roads due to the heavy traffic found on the road at night. He said if the government declared the road as a ‘no parking’ zone then it must also provide adequate parking facilities for commuters on side roads. He expressed his doubts for the project’s completion, saying that the country did not have a stable government and, therefore, it would be extremely difficult to implement such a project. He said he would highly appreciate the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government if it was able to implement its decision.

Implement: MPA Dr Saeed Elahi, who was also present in the meeting with the chief minister, said the PML-N government would ensure the implementation of the project, adding that PML-N leaders did not make false promises to the public. He said they only made announcements they were sure they would be able to implement, adding that this had been proved by their previous year’s performance. He said the project would be initiated as soon as possible. He said the PML-N was dedicated to making this a better province to live in for the public. He said all roads near busy shopping malls would be made traffic-free to ensure a hassle-free visit for the city’s residents. Source: Daily Times, 12-feb-09


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