Bridging the gap

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is planning to construct four new overhead bridges at Kalimati, New Baneswor, Kalanki and Koteswor in addition to the nine existing ones in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts. In recent times, new traffic lights have also been installed in places that see heavy traffic. Similarly, from time to time, people from different walks of life — most notably, school and college students — have been mobilised to enforce traffic rules both on the motorists and the pedestrians.

The increasing number of vehicles on the road has heightened the risk of road accidents, which, in turn, puts more pressure on the traffic police to make sure that the traffic rules are implemented. To make the matters worse, most Valley residents seem either ignorant of or totally indifferent to the existing traffic norms. For instance, they seem to care little about the colour of the traffic light before crossing the road. Nor do they seem eager to spend that bit of extra energy by taking the overhead bridges. Not all blames can be heaped only on the pedestrians, though. In many places, the traffic lights, even the new ones, are out of order. And at places where they work, traffic policemen seem reluctant to take action against traffic signal violators. Hence the new overhead bridges that the KMC is planning will be of little use without a mechanism for strict implementation of traffic rules. The KMC can play its part by clearing the bridges of street vendors who congest the pathway. Equally important is repairing and improvement in the existing infrastructure.