Roads of Turkestan
Road travel in Turkestan is considered to be of less importance than the railways, but even as extensive as the Turkestani railway system is, it does not go everywhere, particularly in the mountainous regions of the east. For some places, travelling by road is the best way to get where you are going.
All of the main arterial roads in Turkestan are Qara Yollar: paved roads (literally, "Black Roads", from the tarmac surfacing material used on most of them. Once you get off of these, however, you are likely to encounter an increasing number of Qoņır Yollar ("Brown Roads"), i.e. unpaved. Increasingly, however, the Provincial administrations are trying to get more of their roads paved. Close to the cities, especially major cities like Buxara, Samarqand and Almalıq, you are now less likely to find Qoņır Yol-class roads. The further away from the large cities you get, however, the more Brown Roads you will find.
Arterial roads (what we might call trunk routes or main highways) are all paved, however, as are the Great Roads that connect the major cities of Turkestan with each other and with cities in Uyguristan, Mongolia, Persia and the Moghul National Realm. The Great Roads are similar to other large highways, except that they do not have a maximum speed limit, and that military vehicles have priority over civilian traffic. See the main article at Central Asian Great Roads for further information.
Within the cities, roads tend to follow ancestral livestock tracks, and in some cases, ancient property boundaries. Exceptions to this are Almalıq, which is laid out on a grid pattern that most Turkestanis find confusing, and the city centres of Buxara and Bişkek, which are laid out in concentric rings with interconnecting radial roads like the spokes of a wheel.
There are several different classes of urban road in Turkestan, which use different words to describe and classify them:
- Ayur ("Lane"; "Alley"): These are the smallest urban roads, usually only a single lane wide. Many of them are pedestrianised and only allow foot traffic, bicycles, and horses, or occasionally just foot traffic. Exceptions are made for emergency vehicles. In smaller cities, Ayurlar might even be paved with cobblestones, though bricks or flag paving is more usual.
- Köçö ("Street"): Most Turkestani urban roads are in this category. Köçöler are mostly single carriageway, residential-type streets, and are usually paved with regular tarmac road surfacing.
- Yol ("Road"): The word yol is used for the connecting roads and highways that link city to city. Sometimes these come well within city limits, and are called Yollar for their entire length.
- Daņğıl ("Boulevard"): Daņğıllar are large streets, usually divided, often with multiple carriageways. They are usually the main connecting roads within city limits. A few notable Daņğıllar are partially pedestrianised; this is usually achieved by having large pedestrian walkways on either side of the carriageways. Dedicated tram tracks are often placed in the middle between the opposing carriageways. (See also Public Transport in Turkestan)
- Prospıt ("Avenue"): Taken from the Russian word Проспект ("Prospect, Avenue"), they are very similar to Daņğıllar. However, Prospıtlar always have a large central median planted with trees and/or plants, and often have trees lining the carriageway on both sides, too.
- Oram ("Circle"): The concentric central roads of Buxara and Bişkek sometimes bear this name. The word is also used descriptively to mean a ring-road.
This terminology is not always followed exactly, however. There are enough Köçöler that are the size of lanes, Daņğıllar that are single-carriageway undivided residential roads, Oramlar which are actually called Köçö or Yol and so on that the classification is only a rough guide. It is, however, followed enough in the naming and designation of roads to be a reasonable rough guide.
Both roundabouts and light-controlled junctions are used in Turkestani road intersections. Turkestani road junctions typically use a major road/minor road priority system, with traffic on the major road having priority over traffic on the minor road.
Typical Turkestani road striping is as follows: The outside edges of the road are painted with a solid yellow reflective stripe. The dividing line between the two different flows of traffic is also painted with yellow, but this may be a single dashed line (single-carriageway roads), a single solid line (divided roads with a central median, and "no-overtaking" sections of single-carriageway road), or a double line (multiple-carriageway roads). A double line may be solid, dashed or combination, the dashed line indicating that overtaking is permitted on that side of the road. Lane dividing markings are dashed white lines. A solid white band across the carriageway indicates that you are on the minor road at a junction; traffic is required to stop at this junction and give way to vehicles on the major road. A junction is indicated on the major road by a dashed white line across the carriageway.
Great Roads replace the yellow striping with red.