Bucharest Traffic Getting Worse – 2007 and 2008 / Romania

Even the works for the future Basarab flyover have begun, and they will last at least until 2009. Moreover, hundreds of auxiliary roads, which normally assumed a part of the traffic deviated from the main roads, are also real sites, totally or partially blocked, and thus if you drive on such a variant, you, a driver, may go nowhere.

As a result, traffic in Bucharest is infernal. Especially early in the morning, or in the evening when the people come back from work. When leaving Bucharest on DN 1 to go to Ploiesti and Prahova Valley, and also when entering the city on the same road it is a chaos, the bigger as several hypermarkets have been opened in that area and, until recently, SIAB 2007 has also been opened.

On Fridays and Sundays the drivers wait for hours to leave or enter Bucharest. The traffic jams continue at rush hours up to the center of the city.

Bucharest City Hall informs us that for a while it will be even worse, but later on it will be better. We understood, but if we look carefully at the progress of the works, we are rather doubtful.

Is it normal for the workers from these urban sites to sell the road kerbs by the piece or by tens, as disclosed by a TV feature report?

According to the City Hall custom, the auctioned works are generally assigned to major firms, like Euroconstruct, Tehnologica Radion, Eurovia, Han Group, Delta, Pa&Co International and others. Then, the aforementioned winners work with tens of smaller companies as undertakers. That is why several firms are involved in one neighbourhood. The result? Two streets are finalized, the work continues on another three, while other ten are blocked, without knowing which is the deadline.

Interesting is also the working method. For instance, the sidewalks are asphalted, but the old kerbs are not removed. After the asphalt is laid, it is finally proceeded to the removal of the kerbs which are replaced by new ones. The result is obvious, because of the kerbs which break into pieces; some spaces remain between the new kerbs and the newly laid asphalt, and therefore the asphalt is laid once again…

Should we recall the parking lots? If normally parking is a major problem on the streets of Bucharest, it becomes an impossibility when work is in progress on a whole street or on several of them and all the car owners from that area must find other lots on other access roads.

Another bewilderment stirred by the extent of the works is the absence of coherence. Works are partially or totally performed on the big boulevards, but at the same time the junctions crossed by them are also dug. As a result, whole neighborhoods are suffocated by traffic. Wasn’t it fairer and more efficient to concentrate the works on a few roads, finish them, and then start working on the others? Thousands of inhabitants of Bucharest ask this question.

Generally, the internal experience in the domain of construction of roads and motorways is long and sad. Immediately after 1990 the situation of the road infrastructure was catastrophic. Both in cities and in connection with the national roads the catchword was “the pit.” When a road is repaired, in case that it is repaired, the action consists of filling up small holes. Soon, they were eroded and we returned to the initial problem. Almost nothing has changed for years. A special case is Bucharest-Pitesti motorway, reconstructed several times with tens of millions of dollars. Ironically, now it is “in reconstruction.” Around Bechtel motorway (Brasov-Bors) there is a permanent dispute over the contractual provisions, Bucharest-Ploiesti is only at the beginning, while Bucharest-Constanta will be finalized with difficulty by the end of the next year. As for the motorway that should cross Sibiu and Timisoara, part of the European Corridor IV, it will have to wait.

Compared to the ‘90s, the present road infrastructure looks much better, especially the national roads and the several tens of km of motorway. In exchange, the county and local roads, like those from many other cities, are still in a critical condition. If we ask why we do not have better roads or more km of motorways built up, the answer should be partially sought in the ‘90s, when at the head of the Transport Ministry there was nobody else than the current President Traian Basescu. At that time, the minister refused to discuss the problem of the motorways for the reason that we do not have the necessary traffic to sustain such investments. Then, the authorities started to upgrade the national roads under the slogan (posted here and there) “here is your money.” A debatable success if we consider that every year, especially in summer, tens of national roads (the best example is DN 1 on Prahova Valley) are in reparation, one of the lanes being alternatively blocked.

The Bucharesters are now the witnesses of an experiment. With much money borrowed from international banks like EBRD or EIB (money to be reimbursed by the same Bucharesters along the years) important works were begun according to debatable criteria. In our opinion, and not only, the haste with which many works are performed is connected not so much with the concern about the citizen, but with a much simpler criterion – the desire to finish many of the asphalted and upgraded roads until next year. Since in 2008 there are local and general elections, isn’t it? It remains to be seen if the experiment succeeds.

The discreet charm of the infernal traffic
Nine O’Clock October 18, 2007
by Victor Lupu

Works are in full progress in Bucharest. Tens of main roads are narrowed by the works, meant either to remedy the tramway lines, to asphalt the roads or to upgrade them.

LIVE traffic web-cam of Kisselef Boulevard – Also try: www.vodafone.ro/live/tv-mobil/camere-web/
Photo Below: Inner-city traffic May 2008 and on right Summer 2007

Bucharest car fleet set to grow 60% within 5 years
Ziarul Financiar, December 13, 2007

Bucharest will boast a fleet of over 1.6 million vehicles by 2012, up 60% against the number of vehicles estimated this year, according to a study conducted by the Division in charge of Driving Licences and Vehicle Registration (DPCIV) of Bucharest’s Traffic Police Department. “For 2012, we estimate the car fleet will amount to 1.64 million cars – double against 2004. For this year, the Capital’s car fleet is estimated at 1.09 million vehicles,” said Dan Mosescu, general manager of DPCIV. The accelerated growth of the number of cars is based on the rise seen by the car leasing market, which made it easier for people who “could not otherwise afford to buy a car”, to acquire one, added Mosescu.

DPCIV introduced an online vehicle registration service, via which around 12,000 vehicles have been registered so far. Seven leasing companies have started to use this system, which is designed to simplify the registration process, with their number expected to grow over the coming year by another three dealers from Bucharest and three from Cluj. Porsche Leasing and Unicredit Leasing are the first two companies in Bucharest to have introduced this online application. Since mid-November, Unicredit Leasing has seen 1,000 online registrations, and estimates the number of vehicles registered online will stand at around 15,000 next year. “Almost half of this year’s registrations were dealt with by leasing companies, and I expect their weight to rise in the coming years. As for issuing temporary registrations, dealers account for the bulk, with around 81% of the total number of registrations,” added Mosescu.

Car registrations up by 24.7 in one year
Nine O’Clock, August 5, 2008

The number of new registrations of vehicles for passengers’ transport increased with 24.7 per cent during the first trimester of the year compared to the similar period of 2007 and reached 239,537 units, according to data announced yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), Agerpress informed. According to INS, during the first trimester of 2008, there were increases in the number of new registrations for all vehicle categories destined for passengers’ transport, compared to the similar period of the previous year. The most significant increases were established for coaches, buses and small buses, as their number is 2.3 times higher compared to the first trimester of 2007.