Thursday, July 29, 2010

One-way traffic, or is it one-way ticket to eternity?

How many times do you change traffic rules! Saturday onwards, motorists will have to follow new rules around the Ashok Pillar junction. Only recently, after much debate and a series of resident association meetings, one-way rules were reversed to go back to the simple rules of old. Now it appears, the one-way lobby has won or is it due to the work on the Metro rail?

You hardly know and who cares anyway. So once again, it will be a nightmare for pedestrians, I’m sure, although the new rules come into force only from Saturday 7am. I can picture old men and women, or mothers with children, waiting to find some means to cross, impatience and anxiety writ large on their faces.

It will now be like trying to cross Nungamabakkam High Road (who says we’ve forgotten old names?) or the area around the Raj Bhavan where speeding vehicles put the fear of death into you and make your bones numb at times. I have experienced it while driving; so I can imagine what pedestrians must be feeling.

One-way traffic down a stretch and around a curve and again down a stretch and a curve is just the perfect recipe for accidents. Especially considering the kind of roads we have. And when night falls the situation can only get worse. With Chennai being favoured with evening rains the past month and monsoon days ahead, a puddle here and a mucky stretch there can be a daunting ask for even the most intrepid driver. I haven’t mentioned gross indiscipline on the city roads. Together, it is a heady cocktail.

For motorcyclists, the danger sign be better out: Beware!

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