Poor pedestrians, concrete jungle and garbage


I have started walking to work from Kollupitiya, Colombo 3 to Dawson Street /Braybrooke Place in Colombo 2. Isn't it time to change the names of these streets? Maybe, we could learn from India and rename some streets and places after respected world leaders. I propose we name Dawson Street after Mahatma Gandhi Mawatha and Braybrooke Place after Nelson Mandela. City Fathers, Step Fathers, Mothers and Step Mothers, do you hear me?

Anyway, back to my street walk from Kollupitiya. Many changes have taken place. Once free and calm Green Path has become much busier. So many business places and even hotels and bed and breakfast joints have sprung up along Green Path. The Green Path section of Kollupitiya isn't green anymore. There was a reason why someone named it as Green Path - because it was green. Should we allow the city to become a concrete jungle? What has happened to our urban planning? Without trying to do with what we have our politicians are talking of Megapolis and new cities. I have also noticed that buses and other vehicles drive fast along Green Path. It is not safe for pedestrians and street walkers like me. In the morning police are there to assist the pedestrians. However, at other times unruly motorists don't allow pedestrians to cross the road.

It is also very risky to cross Dharmapala Mawatha. There should be another pedestrian crossing at the centre near Mariposa. It sure would greatly benefit the Bishop‘s College students and others who walk about. I also found that some of the street lights down Green Path and Dharmapala Mawatha, and even near Raheema at Thurstan road don't work at all. Several waiters at Raheema too complained to me about it. So much for the city of Colombo, and Colombo 7 known as its best residential area! Prime Minister Wickremesinghe lives close by, down the Fifth Lane. Colombo has produced so many MPs, a chief minister and so many councillors besides a three-time Prime Minister.

Many tourists have expressed their displeasure. But, does Sri Lanka care? The Minister of Tourism is only interested in bad mouthing and threatening journalists, and globetrotting at the expense of the public. I am glad that the old ‘Friend in Need’ society and the old Gamini Matha Elders’ Home are still around. There is so much happening at these places for the benefit of the hapless members of the public However, we must try to help and assist these places more. I remember how I, as a member of the Rotaract Club of Colombo and Rotary Club of Up Town visited and spent time with the elders of Gamini Matha Home. I also find that that area needs more cleaning and some sort of landscaping. Hope some charity could get involved and help them. We must create a better environment for our elders and those who help them. I hope and pray that a greedy property developer won’t grab these prime lands.

However, the stretch where the Friend in Need Society is, from Gangaramaya up to the Empire building, is terrible. It is full of garbage even at 9.00 in the morning. This is certainly not what we expect from the Municipal Council of Colombo. What happened to the garden city Colombo? Sadly, it has become a Garbage City now. There is a famous Buddhist temple in the vicinity besides many public and private institutions. When I walk I see many municipal workers moving in garbage trucks, but waste continues to pile up. Their job is to clear it all before 9.00 in the morning. Pedestrians including schoolchildren, workers and others, have to cover their noses when they go past these piles of rotting garbage. If Sri Lanka wants to encourage people to walks the environment must be kept clean. It is not happening because the decision makers travel by luxury vehicles and they don’t care for the man on the street. Please find me a minister of transport who has ever traveled by bus.

If the politicians who suffer from the luxury vehicle syndrome get proper treatment for the illness, they sure can make Colombo a walkers’ paradise and even a cyclist’s paradise.

Pedestrians of Sri Lanka unite!

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