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Dhaka Tribune

‘Controversial and unnecessary’ new zebra crossing

Update : 29 Nov 2014, 10:10 PM

Without coordinating with the traffic division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has marked a controversial zebra crossing just north of the Saarc Fountain at Karwan Bazar intersection in the capital.

The new zebra crossing, barely one hundred feet from an underpass, has caused pedestrian traffic to increase at the busy intersection, making it difficult for traffic police to control jaywalkers who tend to cut a diagonal line through traffic, a police official, asking to remain anonymous, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Ironically, before it had been painted, a mobile court under Executive Magistrate Md Sarwar Alam fined around one hundred people for trying to cross the road at the new crossing point.

The new zebra crossing is also the site of a scuffle in which a female jaywalker earned a month in jail for biting a police officer on the second day of the drive.

DNCC marked the new zebra crossing amid a week-long DMP drive against jaywalking at three key intersections in the capital - Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Bangla Motor on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue.

Zebra crossings on all of Dhaka city’s roads have been worn down to invisibility because of lack of maintenance, increasing the chances for road accidents and jaywalking.

But Dhaka North and South City Corporation are intent on remarking existing zebra crossings only on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, showing little interest, so far, in other parts of the city.

Terming the new zebra crossing controversial and unnecessary, the DMP official said: “This intersection is much busier than most other intersections in the city. The newly marked zebra crossing is risky.”

“I think the chances of accidents will rise because of it. Due to the new zebra crossing, pedestrians will not use the existing underpass 100 feet to the north of the intersection,” he explained.

“The zebra crossings were painted very late on Friday night. We were not aware of it until the next morning,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts to contact DNCC Chief Engineer Brigadier General Md Gazi Firoz Rahman yesterday, he remained unavailable for comment.

DMP additional commissioner (traffic) Mili Biswas told reporters on the first day of the anti-jaywalking drive that the repainting of zebra crossings and renovation of footbridges were discussed with city corporation authorities.

Mili mentioned that the existing zebra crossing west of the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel and south of the Saarc Fountain would be repainted, but did not mention that a new one would be painted to the north of the fountain.

DMP Joint Commissioner (traffic) Mosleh Uddin, who said he had not yet seen the new crossing, told the Dhaka Tribune: “If the city corporation marked it at that point, traffic police will find it difficult to control jaywalking because most pedestrians will cross the road at the zebra crossing and avoid using the underpass.”

Two days after the weekend, two mobile courts will recommence drives against jaywalkers at the Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Bangla Motor intersections of Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue.

Although the mobile courts did not operate during the last two days, most pedestrians used the footbridges to cross roads. The courts are operating as part of a week-long drive of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police in coordination with the district administration to curb jaywalking.

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