All photos from Dance In A Triangle
The blog Dance In A Triangle has been covering the deforestation of Wijerama Mawatha well. All the trees are now gone. While roads need to be expanded, one should ask what roads need to be expanded, and what can be preserved. Destroying these proud old trees is really a shame, and may not be the best investment for future generations.
Wijerama is a two lane road that connects the sorta arterial Bauddhaloka Mawatha (BMICH road) with Horton Place and Ward Place. The alternatives to Wijerama are Kynsey or Baseline Road, or the Independence Ave loop, which is baffling. If you look on the map it does make a bit of sense for it to be a bigger road. That said, I haven’t noticed heavy traffic there, except at school times, and it’s part of a coherent and leafy neighborhood, comprising the area around Gregory’s Road, Independence Square, SSC, etc.
While it is nice to have bigger roads now, it can be more valuable to have nice neighborhoods later. And building for cars is not a sustainable plan for a city. Colombo desperately needs walking neighborhoods for people to live and shop, and public transit. This is what builds lasting commercial and real estate value, and the Colombo 7 area is already prime for that.
Again, please read Dance In A Triangle’s post on this. She’s there and has a definite opinion on the tree culling, which is that it’s bad. I do understand the need to widen roads, I mean, the amount of two lane arteries in Colombo is ridiculous. The widening of Thimbirigasaya, for example, is long overdue. The question is whether the verdant and lovely street of Wijerama could have been preserved. I don’t know, but it’s too late now.