Istanbul’s 'emergency roads' blocked by parked cars
Eyüp Serbest / Aziz Özen ISTANBULRoads cleared of parking for use in the aftermath of a prospective earthquake in Istanbul may now be too cluttered in the event of a seismic disaster, despite their designation as first-degree emergency roads.
After a massive 1999 earthquake centered on the northeastern province of Kocaeli, in which over 18,000 people lost their lives, the authorities faced difficulties in accessing affected areas due to cars parked in emergency lanes and due to narrow streets.
As a result, 562 streets in Istanbul were closed to parking by the Transportation Coordination Center, in order to facilitate the work of paramedics, search and rescue teams and other emergency services in the event of an earthquake.
Warning signs were placed on the streets labeling them as emergency roads, while traffic police were ordered to prevent any parking. However, drivers began parking on some of the streets regardless. Some warning signs were then removed, and a number of streets were allocated to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s parking lot operator, İSPARK.
Traffic jams have also become more frequent since some of the streets were opened to parking.