The third bridge will not be the last one
GÜNGÖR URASThe foundation of the third Bosphorus bridge – the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge – is currently being laid. I wish them good luck with it. But rather than wishing them good luck, it would be more useful to remember a fact. This bridge will not be the last one that to be built over the Bosphorus. Probably, fourth and fifth ones will follow it, and each new bridge will create the necessity to build another one.
There is only one reason for this. We have not been able to organize the master layout plan of Istanbul for 50 years. There will be no chance of ending the need to build new bridges unless Istanbul’s master layout plan is organized and effectively implemented.
Why did the objectors say ‘no?’
I was one of those experts from the state planning organization who objected to the first bridge and struggled against its construction. We objected to it since we believed in the studies conducted by foreign urban planning experts.
What the experts said was as follows: “If a bridge is built before developing a master layout plan in Istanbul, which is constantly growing and receiving migration, one side of the Bosphorus will develop as a residential region, while the other one will be allocated to workplaces and business centers. So each morning, people will pass from one side to the other for work, and then return back to the other side to reach their homes in the evenings. The lives of people will be wasted on the roads. As the population grows, a need for new bridges will emerge. First, Istanbul’s master layout plan should be developed. The people should be set free from the obligation of passing the bridge at least two times a day. Both sides should develop individually, and the traffic problem of both sides should be resolved individually, as well.”
So, as planners, we hastily reacted against the first bridge based on these studies and the findings of the experts. “The bridge should be built after developing the master layout plan,” we said. Now lend an ear to your consciences and answer this: Were the planners objecting to the first bridge right or wrong?
Look ahead and do what is necessary
There is no use looking 40 or 50 years back now. We should look ahead at the future. Even though we are 50 years late for it, we must develop and implement a master layout plan for Istanbul. The third bridge will pave the way for the formation of brand-new but complicated residential and business areas on both sides due to the lack of a master layout plan. The surroundings of the first and second bridges were completely occupied, thus the bridges failed to carry the neighborhoods’ traffic. The same story will repeat itself around the third bridge and its access roads.
It would be useful to underline it again. There is one way to prevent each new bridge from creating a necessity for another bridge: Develop and effectively implement Istanbul’s master layout plan as soon as possible.
If we are late, it will not be possible to prevent the unplanned growth along the third bridge and its access roads. This unplanned growth will prevent the third bridge and its access roads from conducting their main functions.