One-way street boon for emergency patients

KARACHI: To ensure smooth flow of ambulances carrying emergency patients to four major hospitals of Karachi, the administration has made Rafiqui Shaheed Road a one-way street. This decision greatly benefiting the emergency patients is also creating problems for commuters, especially those coming to downtown area from Korangi side.

Four major hospitals of the city, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and the Kidney Centre are situated on the Rafiqui Shaheed Road, whose two-way traffic and dozens of encroachments on footpaths in front of the NICH were main hurdles in way of ambulance traffic. The road has already been made one-day but the illegal shops and vendors are still occupying the footpaths due to negligence of the related cantonment board.

After making Rafiqi HJ Road a one-way direction for traffic coming from Korangi and DHA towards Jinnah Postgraduate Hospital onto Kalapul road turn, causing trouble for patients and residents in emergency situation to access hospital as all types of traffic has already been diverted to use Shara-e-Faisal then to take left turn at Regent Plaza to access JPMC and other adjacent hospitals.

The decision to make the street one-way was taken in a meeting headed by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah which was also attended by DIG Karachi Traffic Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh and some other officials a few days back.

However, some citizens complain that this decision has made the lives miserable for the residents of this area, as it has disturbed their routine. Leaving only one-way direction to access important national hospitals including the JPMC, National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases, National Institute of Child Health, The Kidney Centre and Jinnah Sindh Medical University where majority of patients with low income visit for the treatment have compelled them to take a long route and it has also resulted in more traffic jams on Shara-e-Faisal in the area during peak hours.

Many people have criticized the decision for making Rafiqi Shaheed Road as one-way direction street. They said that the government instead of providing facilities to citizens or finding solution of traffic issues has increased problems for public, particularly the patients.

A lawyer, Muzamil Soomro, said that he lives in this vicinity and has been facing trouble to commute to his office in the DHA area. He said in other parts of the world, governments find better solutions to facilitate the patients in in terms of parking, dual roads and multi-direction access to the hospitals, and making signal free roads but unfortunately our government is increasing problems of people.

He said other side of the road which is closed for the traffic now is being used as parking area by private ambulances outside the hospital as these ambulances had no parking and they are causing traffic jams by parking their vehicles along the road. NED University’s Professor Usman Ali Shah said that the government should get help from experts and academia for resolving traffic issues. He said urban transport engineering departments can give solutions to such issues and they can improve urban traffic system.