Sunday, 25 December 2016
There was an unusual long queue of vehicle as I entered the Main Street of Thimphu town, from the South side. 'There must be some accident', I thought as the traffic moved a car-length by car-length. The pedestrians crossed the road, not in groups but in ones and twos. They seem to have the right of way on that piece of road marked with white paint more like a key of a piano rather than zebra as it is commonly referred to.
Exiting the town near the Taj hotel there were no traffic jam. I realized that it was the zebra crossings that caused the jam. I parked the car and joined the pedestrian folks. It was great feelings to give a dirty look to the drivers and move on the back of the zebra, anytime you want without giving a damn to vehicles unless it is already on the crossings. Such attitudes of the pedestrians, crossing the road at random, clogged the swift flow of the traffic. This causes a telescoping jam rippling till the end near the BOD.
Unsynchronized stoppage of vehicle between the main traffic and the zebra crossing created the clog in traffic as I watched. The cop releases the traffic north bound, but it gets stopped even by a single person crossing the road, just four to five car-length from the traffic controller, with white gloves.
The road being a one way, actually the traffic controller in white gloves would be enough to regulate even the pedestrians as the vehicles were released in batches according to the reasonable judgement of the waving cop. When the vehicles were stopped pedestrians can cross and vice versa, not a rocket science - actually.
I m just trying to bring the ground realities to light. As a concerned citizen it is responsibility of all to contribute constructively. Right? The pace of development in Bhutan had been tricky. It is not step by step. We skip the steps and if the thought process of the policy makers, do not keep pace with development, the brunt would be faced by the citizens.
Zebra crossing was step in traffic development once upon a time. With the increase in numbers of cars and traffic clogging, the skywalks or bridges for pedestrians were introduced in many countries, replacing the zebra crossing. It hampered the traffic, the least. With the numbers of vehicle per square feet of plyable roads in cities, reaching as high as that of metropolitan cities of developed nations, taking a baby step of zebra crossing is a good beginning, which needs to be promptly revolutionized.
Zebra crossing in Phuntsholing would definitely discourage me to drive but encourage me to contribute to more clogging of the traffic, as I walk leisurely on the zebra crossing backed by the traffic police on the watch; who could have formed batches of pedestrians to cross in group. The right of way is always tricky - it depends on whether you are driving or walking. Marking on the road gives edge to the walkers and they don't care about the car, far behind, moving at snail pace. And the driver far behind thinks that something bad must have happened, seeing the jam.