Monday, November 3, 2008

Many levels of traffic

Sunday afternoon and the traffic at the Kathipara grade separator is either approaching apprehensively or moving away from it in relief - maybe confusion, too. At each stage of its construction, traffic had to adjust to slight changes in routes. In the first few days after the entire intersection was opened to traffic last week, there was complete confusion. The signs, while they were present, were just not clear enough to cut through the intuitive driving of the Chennaiite. It is unreasonable to expect him to know that, one fine morning, he has to turn left, so that he could circle around and join the road that takes him to the right; he just looks at this newly laid road and says, "Okay, this is where I have always turned right, and I'll do just that, now. What a wonderful road this is!".

Before he knows it, he is going the wrong way - just like an elderly gentleman, who was coming back home. In the fading twilight, he was probably unable to figure out the new traffic routing and so went up a down-ramp. The poor man died next morning and the grade separator had claimed its first fatality within 24 hours of opening. It was too late to help him, but the police seem to have beefed up their presence at the intersection, to guide confused drivers.

The light traffic yesterday afternoon allowed careful drivers to figure out the intricacies of the first clover-leaf intersection in this part of the country. With two more coming up, at Koyambedu and at Padi, some say there will soon be potential for grade-separator-tourism!

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