Look into the taillight abyss long enough and the chaos looks into you. Find myself driving like a shitheel, cutting off Trishaws and poking lodgedly into impassable lanes. The traffic is bad, its always been bad. In the daytime getting around Colombo is impossible, dangerous, stressful. Lately, however, the city has made lanes one-way and no one has adapted. Will adapt, I wonder. Galle Road flows to the North and Duplication flows to the South, and it flows like butter. Frozen butter. The difficulty now is that simple point-to-point trips now involve kilometers of detour, clogging of traffic, and bottlenecks down narrow lanes. I can’t say if its worse, but it certainly sucks.
Uniflow is a convincing sounding word for traffic management, and it may even make sense. In Colombo, however, there are few tangible benefits yet. As an example, I was at a Pirate Shack on Galle Road and I wanted to go back to Majestic City, against the flow of traffic. So fine, get onto Duplication, go that direction, and turn off where the signs show a viable reconnect to Galle Road. Over the course of 20 minutes. The medians on Galle Road, however, are still up so I’m stuck on the opposite side of the road and am forced to pass MC entirely. Double back again, spend another 20 minutes, and finally get to back. Via Dickman’s Road. The rub, however, is that I spend 20-25 minutes and clog up kilometers of Duplication Road to get literally 200 meters from where I was. Should’ve just walked.
Worse, the one-way system is random and haphazard. The marking is still the same, so if you turn onto an empty street you have no idea of which way to go. The lanes also suddenly change to two way, which is a bit of a shock if you don’t see it coming. Sometimes Galle Road is one way, sometimes it’s two-way past Temple Trees, and sometimes they close that side and you have opposing traffic coming directly at you.
Also, all my laboriously collected shortcuts are now useless cause nothing makes any sense. I just stick to the main roads because a mistake can end up turning into a 30 minute tour of the city.
Another problem with the confusion is that it necessitates a cop literally every 100 meters. I can’t imagine the outlay, but there are literally hundreds of cops on the street every day. Must be a good time to rob outstation.
One more. As a pedestrian, crossing the street is now totally impossible. Duplication is a case in point. There’s no oasis in the median, it’s just four lanes to cross. There are 4 lanes to cross, but the probability of benevolence is perilously low. I’m scared to cross normally cause even if one guy stops, the guy in the other lane won’t. You pass in front of the kind lady who stopped to get grazed by a van. Now it’s that problem times four. Even at night Duplication is really difficult to cross. What happens is just chaos. Pedestrians flow across all parts of Dupes, in hordes. One car shows a little weakness and suddenly it’s zombies in the street.