Government to implement controversial traffic scheme in Colombo

by Shamindra Ferdinando
The government plans to implement a controversial scheme as a part of the strategy to ease traffic congestion along main roads in Colombo during peak hours. It would be implemented on a priority basis, officials said.

But the scheme would depend on the success of a highly ambitious pilot project scheduled to be implemented beginning today (3), they said, adding that police would not permit people to park their vehicles along the Galle Road from Galle Face roundabout to Attidiya Maliban junction outside areas specially set apart for parking. Parking would not be permitted along the Duplication Road between Liberty roundabout and Dickman’s Road colour lights. Police said a fee would be charged for parking.

Police said these restrictions would be in force between 7 am to 12 noon on the sea side and 12 noon to 7 pm on the land side.

Police said traders opposed these tough restrictions. Authorities intend to have weekly assessments to monitor the progress of the scheme. Police said a special desk has been set up at police headquarters (emergency) to handle complaints from the public.

Tough measures would be expanded to cover all major roads in Colombo next month if the pilot project succeeds in meeting its objectives, they said. They were also considering implementing parking restrictions along Colombo-Negombo and Colombo-Kandy roads. But everything depends on the success of the pilot project.

The plan was jointly prepared by ministries of Transport, Highways and Aviation and Interior and Road Development Authority, Urban Development Authority, Moratuwa University, Colombo Municipal Council and Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council.

People parking vehicles outside authorised places face fines. Under the scheme, authorities plan to remove illegally parked vehicles. Parking would not be permitted on pavements. "Owners would be compelled to pay the charges for removing the vehicles," they said.

Passenger buses would not be allowed to remain in halts after passengers board or get off them.

They also plan to clear pavements of all obstructions. Unauthorised structures would not be permitted. Pavement hawkers would be removed. Police intends to deploy additional mobile patrols to ensure the proper implementation of the plan. DIG Daya Jayasundera, formerly with the STF has been tasked with coordinating and implementing the scheme.