Monday, July 18, 2005

The highway network!

Sri Lanka Planned Highways
Originally uploaded by chandare.

Dear Madam President/Dear Highways Minister,

I found this article(written in 2001) in the government website 3 years ago and couldn't wait until 2005!
It says ,

"Sri Lanka will have four major expressways along with eight flyovers (PDF) by the year 2005. A spokesman for the Ministry of Highways said that this was part of a massive plan by the government to improve the infrastructure facilities in the country."

Will my grand children(your great-grand children ) be able to use these super-expressways if we if we build them in the current pace or was it 3005?

What is the current progress of each project?

When will we be able to use them ?

What is happening in the current southern expressway project?

Why does the southern highway keep shifting in the plan ?Is it to avoid using properties of members of parliament(UNP and SLFP both)?

When can a visitor from another country can get to the capital of the country from it's only international airport within a decent time frame?(thanks for the baseline road.)

Do you have any plans for the worsening traffic in Colombo and deteriorating transportation system in the country as a whole?

Have I lost my marbles to ask accountability from the Sri Lankan government ?

yours sincerely,



After writing the above I checked .It says the time frame for 5 major projects is 2015.There are some spreadsheets named "progress reports " with lots of empty cells.They are calling for tenders again for CKE(Colombo Katunayake Expressway)!Ok let's cut them some slack( like we did for the past 50 years).Let's check in 2015 how far we have gone.

Colombo ,check out Mexico City

Not owning a vehicle, I used to depend antirely on the public transportation system of Sri Lanka.Visiting Sri Lanka after sometime ,I can only wonder at how things have become crazier .I thought it couldn't become worse but our guys can always top that kind of expectations .

Everybody seems to be pissed off about the situation but nobody seems to be doing anything about it.There was one exception .Galle Road-Duplication Road(R.A. De Mel Mawatha) oneway idea .According news reports (since I was not there to have first hand knowledge ) it was chaos .It is a briiliant idea.The two roads are just 100 m apart,parallel and wide .Only we can f---up a simple solution which is so obvious.You have to stop at the car at the door step,park along the bussiest road and highway nirwana is just infront of the guy who is speeding ahead of you.

Originally uploaded by chandare.
Photo is from Indi's blog

On a positive note no-parking rule in Galle road during rush hour and Marine drive seems to be sort of working (The schools were closed while I was there,which might have contributed,too).The only solution people seem to have is buying the biggest intimidating vehicle or the tiniest one which sneak between vehicles and somehow get from point A to B.

Since we cannot afford subways(what happned to electric train idea,the delhi example, people?) what is the best affordable way out of this mess?
There is an incredibly similar situation in South America.They are trying out a solution .NYT had an article about the recent experiment in Mexico City .Looks like it is working.The attitude,the unruliness and the private bus ownership seems like the Sri Lankan situation.
"It's fair to call it the toughest city in the world," said Dr. Schipper of the Mexican capital's transportation needs. "It's the worst combination of bad air, bad traffic and poor management that has let the transport system decay over 30 years."
The careening private minibuses that competed for passengers used to weave across lanes and then stop two abreast, as commuters piled on. The city spent more than a year negotiating with the 262 owners whose buses plied Insurgentes to get them to remove their buses. They are now part owners and employees of the Metrobus.

They replaced the chaos with designated bus lines and a single time table it seems .Everything is not going properly at the moment ,according to the article.
The city has piled on extra help at stations, workers who shout instructions and try to mold amorphous crowds into lines. "It's the third world, we are 20 million people, what do you expect?" said Mabel Grajales, a city worker who was one of those trying to move the crowds along.
Sounds like Sri Lanka ,no?
Here is the good news.
"He's the only politician with vision," said Luis Andrade, an office worker who says his travel time has been cut nearly in half by the Metrobus. The old buses raced, braked and suddenly lurched. "There were too many of them. All the noise, the pollution, that's been eliminated."
Seventy-five percent of Metrobus riders asked in a poll published Monday by the newspaper Reforma said they considered it better than the old minibuses, and 81 percent said they believed the problems would eventually be resolved.

Photo is

Originally uploaded by chandare.
from NYT

Let's do something now rather than bitching after the next big accident.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Brass Monkey Rocks!

I was away from my blog for a long time.Was in Sri Lanka during the period ,too!Have to start with a positive note after all .
As Indi has blogged and a lot of guys commented ,the Brass Monkey Band Rocks!I bought the CD and I still have it in my car after two weeks of drive time listening.(As soon as I heard the CD, I just browsed through comments in Indi's post and found that a guy called ChandareII talked some shit while I was away.BTW,I thought most of the Sri Lankans have long unique names.Curious choice of name. )
Me thinks BMB rocks!