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Thursday, December 5, 2019
Home Features They don’t want pedestrians to cross the road

They don’t want pedestrians to cross the road

What is getting very obvious is that people who believe they are the brains of Belize have absolutely no fear about carrying out their intentions. Well, we shouldn’t hold back in telling these people that not all brains should have come back to Belize, that a lot of them should have been drained to foreign.

There are some people who are so highly trained it is a waste of the world’s resources for them to be here. They won’t find the tools or the finances here to do the job they were trained to do. It is best for these brains to stay abroad and earn big money and remember us with the remittances. They will grow to retirement age, if they escape, and they can then come home to retire. These people have so many skills, even the with the age erosion they still have a lot to give.

Some highly educated people, cutting edge talent, are so entrepreneurial they find a way to make their knowledge work big time, wherever they are. They come home and their star is so bright we are indebted for their sacrifice.

Some educated people are really “ROTERS”; they are good at parroting what they learned. They should never be accepted/placed in leadership positions. There’s a third kind of brains about. These are brains that have no compassion. The brains that have no compassion are as bad as or worse than the brains that are misplaced.

It appears that there are a few of these kinds of minds, the non-compassion kinds, in our government. They are rich and famous kinds, “let them eat cake” minds, and they are dominant right now.

The people who designed that “speed way” between Haulover Bridge and Belize City, and the people who signed off on it, they have their category. Ai, the architects either insist they will change Belize, or they don’t know Belize. If they are the former, did they ask any of us if we wanted this change? If they are the latter, who are they that they can come and dictate to us how to live?

The Guardian (local), on page 4 of their latest publication, lamented the tragic death of a young school teacher who was killed while crossing the road (speed way) … and pointed out that a resident of the area “told the media that she knows that she is risking her life, but she will continue to do so”, “do so” being, cross the highway at a spot not designated for crossing.

The Guardian, same edition, in a story titled, “Solution to pedestrian problem on Philip Goldson Highway”, on page 9, said the CEO in the Ministry of Works (MoW) said the “project was designed as a freeway to international standards”, that they didn’t plan for more crossings but that he “can see the need”, and that they are “going back to the drawing board.” The CEO MoW said they are thinking about constructing two overpasses, and this will mean “more spending” and some “damage will be done on the newly paved roads and drains.”

We are talking about human lives here, so we have to go bare knuckle. So, we, people who walk, are a “problem”. If you live in Buttonwood Bay, and have school-aged children and youth, and don’t have two vehicles in your garage, the government is telling you that you are too poor to live there. If they had concern, did not see pedestrians as a problem, they would have put in the necessary crossings.

I visit my old folks up at Buttonwood Bay and I usually take a bus to the entrance to the lane where my parents live. I don’t have to cross the road to enter this lane. Ah, when it’s time for me to leave, to go catch my bus at the terminal at Collet Canal, I have to get a connecting “flight”, a bus that is across the road, the speed way. The last time I made a visit, I did not walk to the roundabout to the designated crossing. And I did not fly over the road.

There should be a crossing at every lane. It wouldn’t cause much extra delay in the flow of traffic. It’s very simple arithmetic. If one hundred people cross the road each day, traffic will be delayed the same amount of minutes for that day, whether it is one crossing or a hundred crossings. They can engineer until they are sick and they can’t change that fact.

It is a fact that traffic will “make up time” if there are less interruptions along the route. And the time savings could be significant if the traffic is going at 60 mph for an uninterrupted kilometer. Do we really want such speeds in a narrow lane with massive cement dividers on each side? There will be some catastrophic accidents.

If we exclude the feeling of being First World, a tonic for some here, the intentions of the international standards speed way are to reduce the early morning traffic bottle neck, and to facilitate tourists coming in from the airports, so they can make their connecting bus, boat, flight to our fabulous destinations.

Really, the early morning bottleneck can be solved just by staggering the work hours in the country. If some people begin their work day at seven in the morning and some people begin their work day at nine, we could ease the pressure on traffic dramatically.

When we started out in tourism, we were Mother Nature’s best-kept secret, offering a brand of tourism called eco-tourism, which is laid-back and nature-based. We were supposed to be major owners of this industry. Well that’s mostly gone, and the industry is now high rise and hurry.

The CEO MoW said they are plotting to remedy their international standards folly by putting in a couple overpasses. We know what these are for. These are for the ruling UDP to hang disgusting party signs. No one in Belize will ever forget the giant “Mek dem Wait” sign the UDP hung on the first, the only overpass in Belize. In some countries they cut ribbons to celebrate government-sponsored projects. In Belize, we hang ugly signs.

Seriously, more seriously, my veto for the overpass idea is because overpasses are very impractical. A transport research paper “Estimating preferences for different types of pedestrian crossing facilities” by Paulo Rui Anciaes and Peter Jones, on www.sciencedirect.com, says pedestrians “balance safety, convenience, and more, when choosing crossing facilities.” The paper says that “trip purpose and frequency, location, and traffic situation” are factors, and that “women and older people have stronger aversion towards footbridges.”

There are many reasons why people will not be excited to use an overpass. Why make overpasses if people will not use them?

The simple solution for the “problem” is to come down to earth and put in crossings where they belong, and that is at the entrance of each lane. As there is need to educate pedestrians and motorists using crossings in Belize City, and everywhere crossings are in the country, there will be need to educate motorists and pedestrians on the speed highway. Motorists will have to understand that they must slow down at crossings and pedestrians will have to understand that they are not to cross until vehicles come to a halt.

We can take advantage of the natural shelters provided by the monstrous dividers. Two dividers should be removed at each section. Adequate signs must be placed on the road so motorists know they are approaching a crossing. Adequate signs must be placed at the entrance to each crossing, and at the dividers, so pedestrians are constantly reminded that they must pause before they cross over to the next divider. And then pause again, before crossing the slow lane.

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