The previous article “Why Flyover Roads Are Good For Barbados” by Michelle Blades did raise some valid points about the vexing problem we face in a modern 21st-century Barbados – traffic congestion.
Infrastructure improvements MUST be done in a very measured and precise way, to avoid excessive wastage of funds, inconvenience to all, and provide a long lasting benefit to all users.
She was absolutely correct about being on a one-hour crawl during rush hour; that demand on the roadway is directly affected by economic forces; and that this issue needs to be addressed as an urgent matter for the overall benefit to the nation.
Limited Road Options
The truth is, the relatively limited road options in the built-up areas of the island have become our Achilles Heel. As a case in point, the current (at the time of writing) blockage of Rendezvous Hill has single-handedly added a good 10-15 minutes on travel time along the south coast road, which is already one of the busiest transportation corridors on the island, because it (the Hill) acted as one of a few transfer points further into the centre of the country.
However where I disagree with the previous writer is in the degree, scope, and application of the Flyover project, and some of the statements in her piece. As I had stated elsewhere, opposing viewpoints lead to healthy analysis, debate, and an informed people equipped to participate in those aspects of nation-building that directly affect them.
In my opinion, the major problems is less about getting people more quickly from A to B, especially on the outskirts of the city and other major areas (Wildey, Warrens, etc.). I see the major issue as too many people trying to get into the city (or its immediate surroundings) for school and work.
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The overall solution then may lie in a variety of approaches.
Here in bullet form are my ‘perfect world’ steps, and showing when and where flyovers may be the answer.
- Selective flow control on some connecting roads – connecting roads that provide relief to the main arteries can be flow controlled to allow smoother traffic movement. This can be by making the road one way at certain times of the day, or by disabling the traffic lights for faster/smoother flow. One way examples could be from Wildey to Belleville through Pine/St Gabriels, or from the Stadium to Bush Hall (problems with the ZR routes though!)
- Staggered timings – when schools are is session, it’s hard to have the kids and work commuters all on the road at the same time. Maybe government run school hours can be adjusted to start at different times.
- Rebates for park and ride programs – this may be really difficult because the bus/tram/trolley may not go the route or time of the traveller … but I suppose this was the genesis of the City Circle Bus. If this isn’t a benefit, can this bus be rescheduled to those country routes that suffer so badly from lack of service? Otherwise, the Park and Ride should be free for travellers between 7:30 and 9:30, and 4:00 and 6:00.
- Widening of Highways – the ABC section from Top Rock to Newton should be widened to improve flow, as well as the Mighty Gryner Highway (still getting used to that name)
- Central lane widening of certain arteries – look at widening sections, like the Hothersal to Combermere, Jackson to Bank Hall, Bank Hall to Belleville, Belleville to Wildey, with a centre lane that is one way into town in the morning, and one way out of town in the evenings.
- Flyovers/Direct roads – a flyover at Jackson/Warrens, another at Haggatt Hall, and a direct elevated road from the top of Rendezvous to the Pine (alongside the BET Sports Ground) would speed up movement in those areas for north-south traffic.
Existing Road Network
To my mind, incorporating the changes to the existing road network has two benefits; it not only allows for the targeted flow improvement, but also provides an opportunity to upgrade underground services (e.g., water) and FINALLY give a smooth road surface.
Sure, it’ll be expensive to acquire the private land (and pay the people for it, but that’s another issue!), but it’s possible that these will provide relief in the key areas BEFORE having to address a more minor issue of getting from West to South Coasts faster, and delaying the massive concrete constructs that are required for Flyovers or Overpasses that spoil what little natural views we have left.