Rules not enforced
Perhaps the single biggest obstacle towards development in this paradise island is the obvious lack of spine to enforce relevant Rules & Regulations [SL has ‘Laws’ aplenty but enforcement lacks ‘follow through’]. Seriously, what’s the earthly point in packing the statute book with all the Laws possible if enforcement is almost absent! Please don’t trot out this moth-eaten excuse of “What to do, we are a Democracy, no”; ironically, if we hope to sustain democracy we MUST have the guts to enforce all Laws applicable against whoever who breaks the Law – if not SL could drift towards anarchy or worse!
Pot-holed Roads Galore
What’s easily the worst stretch of pot-holed hellish road in Colombo? [with no signs of effective road surface repairs being done for eons?] Surely the ‘prize’ goes to Sea Beach Road, Pettah, which starts off from N H M Abdul Cader Road that leads to St Anthony’s Church; significantly the small section of roadway to St. Anthony’s Church has an excellent surface, only to morph into pot-holes thereafter and becoming a ‘hell hole’ in Srimath Ramanathan Mw going past Ceylon Tobacco Company. Spare a thought for staff of CTC who have to endure such bad sections of roads in their daily commute! Some pontificate that rutty road surfaces in above two roads mentioned are due to constant ‘Container Truck’ traffic. Oh! Really?? Then how is it that the parallel Wharf Road has a superb surface that is constantly exposed to use of heavy trucks? Indeed why only section named ‘Sea Beach Road’ and beginning of Srimath Ramanathan Mw?
Expressway section Kottawa - Kadawatha
This section of Expressway does significantly reduce time to reach Kurunegala & Kandy provided that the balance section of road that one has to wade thru in usually heavy traffic is not ‘bumper-to-bumper’ traffic gridlock like some days. There are two negatives regarding this Kottawa – Kadawatha sector Expressway and vice versa:  Poorly lit at nights – hence a serious accident ‘waiting to happen’  Many Kandy folk attempting Expressway from Kadawatha to Colombo via Kottawa have been confused with road sign that says ‘To Colombo’ as then one is compelled to leave Expressway and join up normally traffic laden Kandy-Colombo road. So, when driving down from Kandy on reaching Kadawatha look for signboards on ‘Expressway to Matara’.
The Nugegoda Fly-Over
Nugegoda ‘Fly-Over’ Bridge now aptly to be re-named ‘Snail-Over’ Bridge! After a breezy run in our Expressways that end up at Kottawa, if going towards Colombo, be warned: Most appointments go hay-wire from Kottawa onwards as one has to inch one’s way thru the traffic mayhem at Kottawa junction and further gridlock and chaos found at junctions of Maharagama, Navinna, Wijerama, Delkanda and Nugegoda Flyover aka ‘Snail-Over’ Bridge! Just the other day yours truly took literally 45 minutes to inch my way from near Anula Vidyalaya to St Joseph’s Rd – a distance of a mere 500 meters via the Nugegoda Fly-Over, oops! ‘Snail-Over’ Bridge where the traffic was marooned atop the bridge 10 minutes at a time; also it’s not funny to feel real sensation of Bridge shaking! Many opine that the Nugegoda Flyover Bridge is structurally unsound and that extra heavy Container Trucks and fully laden buses should NOT use it – for reasons obvious! Are authorities waiting for a disaster to happen?
Even Globally ‘Gridlock’ is a tough nut to crack!
There is no off-the-shelf remedy to “global gridlock.” Instead, a mixture of solutions that enhances mobility and, at the same time, reduces congestion, accidents and pollution are needed.
Are ‘Smart Systems’ the way forward?
Managing our urban traffic requires finding a balance between throughput, livability, safety and sustainability. As our cities grow in the coming decades (leading to increased traffic demand), the challenge of managing traffic will increase as space to develop road networks is often limited or (in some cases) non-existent.
Our urban traffic is characterized by an odd mix of different modes of transport (pedestrians, cars, commercial vehicles, public transport, two and three-wheeler vehicles) makes the challenge even more complex. Sadly to date, all our SL governments have been largely focused on short-term fixes to eliminate these problems: building new motorways, widening roads, putting up signs and establishing commuter lanes etc. While providing temporary relief, these short-term solutions only add to the long-term problems by increasing the number of vehicles on the road and aggravating the related environmental, cost and safety concerns.
What about Simpler, Practical Solutions?
Yet what about even simpler solutions such as improving ‘Canal-Boat’ transport; engaging ‘Train-buses’ privately owned/run in urbanized areas and to run them at 10-minute intervals during ‘Office Rush Hours’ morning/evening and at other times every 20 minutes. Let’s think of simpler ways to ease Traffic congestion and improve our much maligned ‘Public Transport’!
May you have a Safe and Great Driving experiences throughout 2018; Remember – If You Drive, Please Do NOT Drink!