January ended in much the same way as December ended with heavy rain and floods but fortunately it wasn't severe flooding and no one was displaced from their homes. At the start of the month the main topic of converstation was the presidential election.
Judging by the popularity of this tweet, this is the change people wanted.
Holy Father approaches Madhu shrine and the faithful have gathered in large numbers pic.twitter.com/IqRCQmhmDG— catholic media SL (@popevisitsl) January 14, 2015
The papal visit was as big an event as the election, so big that we have a separate post about it.
Traffic near gangarama temple and near bishops due to the pre runs of the perehara next week pic.twitter.com/Pxndy3i4HE— Dihan De Silva (@Dihan_desilva) January 30, 2015
Not to be outdone by the papal visit, temples and churches organized peraheras which invariably lead to heavy traffic.
Absurd traffic at the exit (Colombo - Katunayake highway) pic.twitter.com/00RM8uRJyN— Dihan De Silva (@Dihan_desilva) January 30, 2015
We are always out to prove the point that building new highways doesn't eliminate traffic.
A pond in front of slave island police station creates traffic pic.twitter.com/FOo9Qv2xhg— Ranga Sirilal (@rangaba) January 30, 2015
Building ponds in the middle of the road isn't a solution either. The only solution is to take cars off the road and it doesn't cost anything if you carpool. Now let's look at the numbers.
The two sky scrapers on this chart were built on the days of the papal visit. Notice that they have a large green chunk as well? We use a green marker on the map when someone reports that there is no traffic at a particular location and also when a road that had been severely congested or closed has been cleared. January had a total of 78 all clear reports and they combined with the other traffic reports to yield an average (mean) of 38.5 reports per day. If you count only 'heavy traffic' reports the figure is 36.0 .
Both numbers are much lower than the corresponding figures of 42.3 and 41.2 for December 2014. But let's not forget that we had severe flooding in December so let's compare with January 2014 which surprisingly is still higher at 39.5 per day. Digging deeper we find that January 2014 was a time when we had an unusual number of protest marches in Colombo. We also find that there was a lull in traffic immidiately after the election and also after the papal visit.