The National, Tuesday October 22nd, 2013
PORT Moresby’s traffic problems will need to be properly addressed over the next two years.
The city is set to host several major regional and international events, not the least of which is the Pacific Games in 2015.
At the recent Asia Pacific Economic Conference meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea was given the responsibility of hosting the 2018 meeting.
Basic infrastructure like roads, overpasses, traffic lights, street lights, roundabouts and street and traffic signs must be in first class condition if PNG’s capital is going to make a good impression on the visitor.
This country, through its state bodies, has had a poor record of maintaining public infrastructure and facilities.
Too often roads that show signs of wear and tear are left untouched until their state is no longer a patch-up job but cause for a major overhaul.
Thankfully, in recent years the National Capital District Commission has become more efficient in its upkeep of roads around the city.
Even then there are some perennially pot-holed sections of roads in suburbs like Gerehu.
No foreign dignitary is likely to ever set foot in that part of the city but the people who live there still deserve decent roads, after all they pay taxes.
With an ever-increasing number of cars on the roads in the capital, city authorities are faced with congested traffic at peak hours.
On the one hand, the more cars we see on the roads tells us the economy must be on the rise but the infrastructure is lagging behind.
Apart from road maintenance and traffic management, steps must be taken to rein in errant drivers, particularly bus and taxi drivers who flout traffic laws on a daily basis.
Port Moresby’s traffic registries need to start upholding higher standards when passing individuals fit to acquire driving licenses.
Even the simple renewing of a safety sticker does not require a vehicle owner to have his or her car checked for faults and defects.
We dare say that under more stringent controls many vehicles and drivers would be disbarred.
But it is not only these drivers who cause headaches and havoc on roads. The other blight is that caused by drivers who are simply not fit to be behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle.
It is a wonder than that there are not more traffic accidents.
Driving while intoxicated is a widespread problem in this city.
Many drivers, apparently or clearly drunk, are allowed free reign on Port Moresby’s roads because there is no one to police the streets and keep them in check.
The constabulary is undermanned and underequipped to handle a job of this magnitude.
It is worrying to think that the average adult can be in a state deemed unfit to use a car and still be driving without fear of being caught and charged.
Even up to this day Port Moresby traffic police are yet to introduce modern technology in its fight against careless and reckless driving.
Regular patrols by police on the main roads are one way of minimising the number of people driving with little consideration for public safety.
While the majority of motorists use the roads in acceptable, safe and responsible manner there is that minority that always spoils it for the rest – they just doing it with relative impunity it seems.
If Port Moresby has ambitions to be a leading city in the region then it would do well to have a road system that is at least on par with its more developed neighbours.