Government directives not enough when it comes to traffic in Baghdad
By : Adnan Hussein
:: The cabinet recently responded to the frequent complaints of traffic jams that have nearly become fatal in Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad. Although it has issued directives to curb this phenomenon, it still did not completely solve this problem.
The guidelines were limited to “quick fixes and immediate solutions to this problem,” according to a press briefing by the Cabinet spokesman Saad al-Hadithi.
Baghdad’s traffic problem, as well as its problems with electricity and municipal services, especially hygiene and sanitation, is much more serious than a problem that can be resolved with “fast and immediate” procedures. The persistent traffic jams around the clock, as well as the lack of electric power supply, have obstructed the economic and social life.
It is not wrong to take quick and immediate actions solutions; however, it is a bigger mistake to rely on these procedures and disregard thorough solutions.
Baghdad is one of the largest capitals in the world with an area of one thousand square kilometers and a population of about 3 million people (a quarter of the Iraqi population). It ranks second among the capitals of the Arab countries and the 16th among the world capitals in terms of population.
Traffic system is part of the radical solution to the problem of traffic jams, which is also an indicator of the power and authority of the country
Baghdad is an overcrowded city that cannot be treated with rapid and immediate solutions that have been ongoing since the 1970s, especially that these solutions have already proven to be disastrous.
The suffering of the people has increased several times since 2003, not only because of the security situation but also due to the policy of open doors regarding the importation of goods, mainly cars; senior corrupt figures have been holding to such policies along with their cheating partners.
The streets of Baghdad today are full of cars, especially the cheap ones coming from China and Iran. These cars suffer from frequent breakdowns, which contribute to traffic jams and cause deadly accidents. The government’s first move should be to stop such policies and prevent the importation of cheap cars.
Nevertheless, the big prize deserved by Baghdad and other big cities like Basra and Mosul will be when they solve their traffic problem once and for all through relying on the fast public transportation projects. This can be done through a network of aboveground and underground railways.
There has been an underground project since the 1970s that has been afflicted by Saddam Hussein’s futile domestic and external wars, and the government now should go back and reinforce it with other Tram projects. Moreover, reviving the railway network linking Baghdad to other provinces will alleviate the traffic jams in the capital, especially at the entrances and adjacent areas.
In addition to all that, there is a constant need to implement the traffic system and law, whether in Baghdad or outside it. Traffic system is part of the radical solution to the problem of traffic jams, which is also an indicator of the power and authority of the country.
:: Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein.
:: Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.