In most countries there is much planning and trials performed electronically by use of GPS and satellite to follow traffic movements prior to implementation of one-way systems and installation of colour light traffic control systems on the timing of stop/go during peak and non-peak hours. Studies are done continuously for 24 hours for a minimum of seven days prior to decisions being taken on timing. In this country colour light systems have to be manned by uniformed law enforcement officers during rush hours. There is no respect or regard for ‘no stopping’ yellow boxes painted at various locations. Most drivers/riders are unaware of the meaning and purpose of the yellow box or stopping on pedestrian crossings, obstructing crossing. Besides, law enforcement ignores offenders.
Galle Road in the recent past has been converted into a one-way system from Bambalapitiya to Kollupitiya. This was temporarily successful. All business establishments along the Galle Road which had been in operation for centuries along this principal north-south main road are suffering due to this one-way system. Some businesses have been compelled to close down or turnover has reduced to such an extent that very soon they would go out of business.
Those travelling by public transport, which is approximately 70 – 80 percent of the traveling public, have been greatly inconvenienced, having to move between Galle Road and Duplication Road to travel back and forth.
The more sensible option would have been to maintain Galle Road as a north/south link road for public transport, three wheelers, motor cycles with a centre divider and right turn only at designated points to connect to Marine Drive and Duplication Rd. By this system those using public transport need not walk between Galle Rd. and Duplication Rd. to travel back and forth.
Convert the Marine Drive as a one-way to Colombo. Convert Duplication Road as one-way heading south. Three-wheelers and motorcycles could be prevented from long distance travel on Marine Drive and Duplication Rd.
Marine Drive could be a four-lane fast track to Colombo. Right lane could be only for vehicles turning right and Duplication Road would be a four-lane fast track to the south with the facility to turn left or right.
If parking is to be allowed on the Marine Drive, it could be restricted to the right side of the road as there are restaurants and business establishments on that side. Parking could be allowed on Duplication Road utilising odd and even days of the week to enable a minimum of three lanes to be utilised at all times. Narrow pedestrian walkways would be required on Duplication Road but no walkways would be required on the Marine Drive. Parking should not be allowed on the Marine Drive from 0700 – 0900 and Duplication Road from 1700 – 1900
A bicycle lane heading south / north could be provided on the Marine Drive on the rail track side to encourage people towards a healthy mode of transport. Most countries have bicycle lanes in cities. This country has none. Riding a bicycle by the seaside (up or down) could be done with convenience as there would be no obstructions by parked vehicles, bus stops, pedestrians and others.
It is still not too late to implement these suggestions prior to spending more public funds in making Galle Rd. one-way from Lester James Peiris Mawatha to Bambalapitiya.
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