Bouquet for SSP traffic - Colombo
Recently, going in the direction of the Kirullapona Junction Bridge, along Maya Avenue, I encountered a horrendous traffic jam. I was perplexed as to why the traffic jam should commence near Vilasita Nivasa. The vehicles were crawling at snails pace, I was positive that an accident had occurred and was the reason for this massive jam.

Approaching the junction about 20-25 minutes later, and cursing under my breath an imagined reckless bus or coach driver, who I thought was the cause of the jam, lo and behold, there was none of this. The nigger in the woodpile was a traffic cop. He was all at sea with countless vehicles approaching the junction. He was simply overwhelmed with exasperated motorists blowing their horns. Why on earth did he decide to direct traffic when the traffic lights perform this function very efficiently.

With the lights working, I am always able to go through this junction, without a single cop being present, in about 2-3 minutes. The time generally is 12.30-12.45 p.m. on week days and I am comparing like with like. Then, 3 days after the first horrible episode, this same cop repeated this gross interference with the flow of traffic according to the lights and caused mayhem once again.

In sheer desperation, I got an introduction to SSP Traffic, Mr. Sunderalingam, and complained to him about the mindless interference with the normal flow of traffic. He said he would take prompt action and I presume this was done, as thereafter, there was no traffic cop standing on the center of the junction and trying to do better than the traffic lights with disastrous results! Congratulations Mr. Sunderalingam. I hope the same instructions will go to other Traffic Policemen who think that if they are on duty on the roads, it is their bounden duty to direct traffic even if the traffic lights are operational - why have traffic lights if it is so? If the traffic lights are not functioning, they are justified in directing traffic, but I have personally experienced that when traffic lights are not functioning and there is no traffic policeman around, the traffic flows without hassle! An example being Lipton’s Circus with several roundabouts.

Another mistake that is made is when Traffic Policemen direct traffic at Roundabouts without lights. This is wholly unnecessary and causes untold problems. Roundabouts are so designed to achieve a free flow of traffic without Police interference and experience has taught me that it is in fact, far more effective than with traffic direction. Once again, thank you Mr. Sunda-ralingam.

L. L. Samarasinghe

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