Cars and bikes, from the right side of the intersection, move ahead even though a traffic policeman signals them to wait. The photo was taken at the capital's Kakoli around 6:00pm yesterday. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq
Kakoli intersection, a major and complex traffic hub of the capital, has become a driver's nightmare due to poor traffic management and jaywalking.
The spot, crisscrossed by roads leading to Shahjalal airport, Gulshan's diplomatic and commercial zones, Defence Officers' Housing Society (DOHS), Mohakhali and other key areas of the city, experiences awful traffic congestion throughout the day.
Vehicles coming from both Mohakhali and airport directions have to wait for at least 10 minutes to cross the intersection and then face yet another snail-paced traffic with vehicles from Banani, DOHS and Dhaka Cantonment areas converging on the street.
Sometimes drivers lose their patience and try to cross the intersection ignoring traffic signals. So, accidents of minor scale are quite common at the spot. Vehicles from the direction of the airport are often found colliding with private cars from the Banani DOHS area by cutting into the traffic flow without waiting for the right signal.
Moreover, public buses, taking advantage of lax traffic policing, tend to stop haphazardly to pick up and drop off passengers while crossing the intersection, barring other vehicles behind from moving on.
And of course, like any other intersection of the city, pedestrians here prefer jaywalking to using the footbridge, adding to the already troubled traffic at the roundabout.
With vehicles honking, bus helpers shouting for passengers, drivers cursing one another, traffic police whistling frantically and jaywalkers hurrying across the roads, the intersection practically turns into pandemonium almost every single day.
The congestion on the road to the airport is mainly caused by the vehicles from the Cantonment area heading to Banani Road 12 directly across the road, halting a heavy flow of vehicles going straight.
After crossing Banani 12, vehicles to the airport and Uttara direction have to wait at Kakoli intersection for about 10 minutes for the green signal. And just when the green light turns on, hordes of jaywalkers force the drivers to halt again. Though there is a footbridge right there, pedestrians hardly use it.
The vehicles coming from the direction of the airport also face a long tailback on the stretch leading to the ramp of Mohakhali flyover.
Traffic police are often blamed by commuters for their leniency in taking actions against both the errant bus drivers and jaywalkers.
A high official of the traffic police said they are taking actions against vehicles but can do nothing to stop the huge number of jaywalkers.
Pointing to the narrow entry to the DOHS area, he said, “There is a modern traffic signal system here [at the intersection] but it cannot be used due to the rail crossing at the DOHS gate through which 77 trains pass every day”.
Sergeant Nasir Uddin Bhuiyan of Gulshan traffic zone said though they file around 40 cases against errant vehicles every day, they need more manpower for a stricter enforcement of traffic rules.
Another traffic sergeant said 12 constables, six traffic sergeants and one sub-inspector work at the intersection in three shifts but the manpower is not enough.
Sometimes police have to make way for VIP vehicles by stopping other vehicles, triggering snarl-ups, he added.
Furthermore, knee-deep water inundates both sides of the heavily used road during rains due to a poor drainage system, causing further traffic congestion, he said wishing not to be named.
Another colleague of this officer suggested that the authorities undertake special drives to prevent jaywalking.
Former executive director of Dhaka Transport Coordination Board SM Salehuddin said there is a plan to construct two loops of Mirpur-Airport Road Flyover and Bus Rapid Transport (BRT-3) lanes. If these plans are implemented, commuters may find some relief at the intersection.