I have reviewed quite a few subjects in this blog - movies, mobile phones, restaurants, etc. Now, for a change and to vent out big time (or just for the heck of it), I would like to write a review of a famed road in Chennai called OMR, expanded as Old Mahabalipuram Road or otherwise known as IT Expressway.
To begin with, the very fact of the road being called an Expressway is such an irony. It should rather be called a Suicide-way. The road is supposedly a toll road, but shows zero signs of being so. Out of the three lanes the road is designed for, two of them are taken at most places by shops and commuters waiting at bus stops. Motorists are left with just one lane and rarely two, which they fight for with their dear lives.
Government adds oil to the fire by placing barricades every few kilometers. Barricades, in my opinion are placed on roads to control over speeding. With a few million vehicles chugging along bumper to bumper in the rush hour traffic, those freaking barricades only add to the congestion. I can't fathom how difficult is for the Government to realize this simple fact. Least they could do is to remove the damn things and create a little more room in the road.
Two-wheelers, for their part, do their best to wreak havoc in their unique 'i-will-peek-my-nose-into-any-gap-I-see' strategy. And by gap, I mean little wedges that could start from anywhere around 0.5 mm. With all the powerful bikes people could afford, the road becomes nothing short of a race track or even worse, for some more like a road-rage video game.
Most bikers fail to realize what might happen if the truck/car they tail gate so closely attempt to brake. With the kind of brakes two wheelers have and with the very fact of it being a two-wheeler, the rider stands no chance but to rear end the vehicle in front of him and fall flat on the road. Most times while I drive in this road, in addition to fighting through the traffic, I take conscious attempts to save a life or two by keeping distances from such two-wheelers.
Next big things are the buses. When the two-wheelers attempt to maneuver through a gap, the buses follow them closely to try to do the same. What idiots. With their massive size and a masculine horn, they think they rule the road. At every signal light, they diligently drift towards the left and try to get as far as possible. Imagine a 100 buses doing this all at the same time. Rest of the vehicles do nothing but to save themselves from scratching against the sides of the bus or worse, get stuck under their wheels. Makes me think if most of such bus drivers have a license to kill from hell.
In addition, there are these annoying share autos who give a damn about traffic rules, signal lights or worse, the fact that their rear wheels need more room to enter than their front wheel (just like auto-rickshaws across the city). They ship about 20 people where there would be room for only about 7. In the midst of all these, there are call taxis, cycles, pedestrians, dogs, cows, all with one sole aim – to make driving experience a nightmare in this road.
But I’m not someone who just sits and complains. I have thought of a solution that can be a cure to all these problems. One solution that can put an end to all the ordeals that drivers face. I propose there be separate lanes for buses, cars, autos/bikes. More like how the Mount Road in Chennai has service lanes, but wider than that.
But that may just not be enough to keep Chennai drivers under leash. Government should have spikes installed along the white dotted lanes, thereby enforcing people to strictly follow lanes. One should not be able to change lanes without puncturing their own tyres. That’s the only way to stop people from wavering across lanes, thereby inculcating little bit of discipline and road sense in all OMR drivers.
Till something crazy like this is implemented, I’m afraid the road will remain a death trap for years to come, if not worse!