Tues. Mar. 13, 2018– If you are at the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard Roundabout (near the Shell Depot around Mile 2 on the Philip Goldson (Western) Highway), and you contemplate getting to Publics Supermarket, you have two options. You can drive east along the highway until you meet the next roundabout (near the Adventist and NAPA buildings), take a U-turn around the roundabout, and then head west until you get to Publics; or you can shorten your journey by heading north along Buttonwood Bay Boulevard, take a right on to Coney Drive, and that takes you to Publics (across from Body 2000), where you have shortened your journey to Publics by about a half. That’s a saving of time and money, as in gasoline at near $12.00 a gallon. Along the northern side of the highway boulevard, there is only one road entrance, and that is the lane that comes from Coney Drive through behind the Puma Gas Station and then into the P.S.W.G. highway, where you can only turn right. There is no other entry road from Coney Drive between those two roundabouts. Sometimes, it feels a bit inconvenient, in fact quite a bit inconvenient, as a driver trying to reach your destination quickly; but at least you have one option. You sometimes feel impatient and annoyed, but you live with the situation, because “it is what it is.”
But if you are at the Chetumal Street Roundabout on the same PSWG Highway facing east, and you would like to reach Brodies Supermarket within a stone’s throw across the other side of the boulevard now being constructed, you have NO option, meaning there is NO CHOICE involved. There is only one thing you can do, if the supposed “Master Plan” continues to roll out for this section of highway being upgraded to meet so-called “First World” standards. You are going to head east along this highway until you reach the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard Roundabout; and then you are going to make a U-turn around the roundabout, and begin heading west, from whence you just came. Having done this before, you will realize that, somewhere along the drive east, past Benny’s, past DK Supermarket, past Travellers, and past Shell Depot, that you begin to feel a bit stupid, or maybe angry and frustrated. This feeling is reinforced as you begin driving west, retracing your journey on the other side of the boulevard separation until, by and by, you reach your destination and can turn right into Brodies. A half mile east and a half mile west (not an official measurement), to get back almost exactly from where you started. It just doesn’t make sense. And that is why I propose that this stretch of road be named “Idiot Boulevard.”
For some reason, without our knowledge, we citizens of Belize City, for the past few years, have been treated to some grand ideas being made flesh according to a so-called “Master Plan” hatched by foreign experts. I would like to see the statistics of the consultation supposedly done (about Albert Street) with drivers about the abolishing of the short-cut lanes between Mule Park and Belize Bank, and between Central Park and Brodies; purportedly to “pedestrianize” the Alberts. I would also like to know who authorized the destruction of the landmark marble benches that once adorned the perimeter of Memorial Park for generations, before it was “modernized”
Back to “Idiot Boulevard.” Between Chetumal Street Roundabout and Buttonwood Bay Boulevard Roundabout, there are at least five intersecting streets that go from Seashore Drive to the highway. There is a reason. This is a residential area. And there is a bus shed across the highway next to DK Supermarket that many Buttonwood Bay folks need to cross the highway to access. If the planners envision a top speed highway, then they better realize that they are passing through a “village”, namely Buttonwood Bay/Belama, and there will need to be some pedestrian crossings. Why not also make a break in the boulevard (or another roundabout) so vehicles can access the other lanes on the north side, without having to go all the way to the next roundabout?
But if you all insist, because of the Master Plan, then there is one possible solution that keeps your Idiot Boulevard intact. Open a new access road from Chetumal Street Roundabout towards the sea, and link it up, passing behind Brodies property by the seaside, with a reclaimed portion of the coastline to join with Seashore Drive. So, drivers will have the option of accessing Brodies and any residential area on the east side of the boulevard through this outlet, without having to go all the way down the highway to the next roundabout, and then all the damn way back up.
We are not idiots. Let’s think this thing through before we swallow, hook, line and sinker, what foreign experts tell us.