With the fear of using public transit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people in Turkey’s largest metropolis, Istanbul, have switched to using their personal vehicles instead, leading to high traffic density.
“The number of people using public transport dropped by 50 percent. Most of the residents say that they will never use public transport in this period,” Orhan Demir, a deputy in the Istanbul Municipality’s Transport Department, told daily Milliyet on Feb. 23.
Noting that the peak traffic hours in the city have changed, Demir said: “The traffic congestion was commonly seen during the usual morning rush hours and the evening after work hours. But now, heavy traffic can be observed throughout the day.”
Highlighting traffic-congested locations in the city, Demir said, “In the European side, the highly populated districts of Sefaköy, Avcılar, Beylikdüzü and Esenyurt are suffering from traffic congestion the most. In the Asian side, high traffic density has been observed on the highway between the district of Ataşehir and the Bosphorus Bridge.”
Pointing out that the city is experiencing the same traffic congestion density that it once experienced in 2005, Mustafa Ilıcalı, an academic from Istanbul Commerce University, said, “Our worst nightmare has come true.”
“Due to the renewal of the lanes connecting the city’s bridges, massive traffic jams were witnessed in 2005. We are experiencing the same traffic density today,” he added.
Making a call to the city and government officials to take measures to solve the rising traffic problem, Ilıcalı suggested that “increasing the number of traffic cameras might prove useful.”
Vehicles are forced to move at a speed of just 10 kilometers per hour inside the city center, Ilıcalı added.
On analyzing the speed of vehicles and time spent on heavily congested roads, the daily noted that high traffic density was experienced particularly near the city’s bridges.
Driving on a five-kilometer road near the Bosphorus shore can take more than half an hour in the evenings, the daily reported.
Hurriyet Daily News