AKP candidate vows to end Istanbul’s traffic jam
Istanbul’s rail system will be increased to 518 kilometers in five years, Binali Yıldırım, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate for the metropolis vowed on Feb. 28.
“The solution is public transportation such as metro and suburban trolley lines. Right now the [rail] length is 170 kilometers long. We aim to increase this to 518 kilometers in five years. If we reach this figure, [the rail system] will be longer than Tokyo’s and London’s,” said Yıldırım, on private broadcaster Kanal D.
“If one says that Istanbul’s traffic will be relieved by 100 percent, then he is not telling the truth. I am pledging a more bearable traffic for Istanbulites,” he added.
Yıldırım also underlined that when the train line connecting suburb Halkalı with Gebze district of Kocaeli province will start to function, the rail length will increase to 238 kilometers.
“Istanbul’s traffic has a status quo and we have a target we want to achieve with our projects. In Istanbul, over 31 million trips are being made on a daily basis. This figure even reaches 33 million. In 2023, this will increase to 37 million. When compared to other cities on the same scale as Istanbul, this figure is low,” he said.
When asked about any new projects, Yıldırım said a three-decker tunnel will be built between Istanbul’s two bridges.
“The tunnel starts from Söğütlüçeşme [bus terminal]. We will pass through the two bridges between [neighborhoods of] Ünalan and Altunizade. It will be a rail system that reaches out from Gayrettepe to Tüyap,” he added.
The mayoral candidate stressed that this new project will ease the traffic on a major scale and provide a new transformation network between the East and the West.
Istanbul’s traffic will now be “smart”, according to Yıldırım, as traffic lights will shift in accordance with the traffic.
“A center is being built in [district of] Sancaktepe. Istanbul’s traffic will be in your hands 24/7. For instance, if the traffic light is set to turn green in 2 minutes yet [the pedestrian] does not need to wait, it will turn green immediately,” he said.
Regarding the “People’s Alliance” between AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Yıldırım said that the grassroots of both parties have coalesced for the upcoming local elections on March 31.
“This election is significant such that it is the first time alliances are formed for the local elections. Nevertheless, it is tough to forecast what results will this have,” he said.
“It will be easier to have an estimation if all parties go to the polls with their own candidates yet when it comes to alliances, different cases can occur. It is still not clear how much the surveys conducted reflects the real situation,” the mayoral candidate added.