Engineering Band-Aids Will Not Solve Road Woes

Warrens before the roundabout expansion

Those who listened to the parliamentary debate on a resolution to borrow 35 million dollars from the Barbados National Bank (BNB) earlier this month would have been surprised at the robustness of the exchanges. Unfortunately many of the contributions delivered by MPs and Senators centred on which government was responsible for roads built over the years. Regrettably politicians on both sides of the fence continue to insult Barbadians with the poorakey debate which spews forth from  parliament.

Is it unreasonable for some level of strategic thinking to be applied to the perennial issue of how to improve the road and traffic systems in Barbados? With 130,000+ vehicles on our roads is it a more sensible option to ponder if our narrow and dense network of roads can efficiently accommodate existing traffic flows?  Instead we cut down hundred year old trees, build gigantic roundabouts a la Warrens, create jambusting, triangular roundabouts and the like?

Barbados is a 166 square miles and at some point commonsense will have to take root. The number of vehicles on our roads cannot be allowed to go unregulated for much longer. However just like the subject of education do not expect our policymakers to show the testicular fortitude necessary to take this particular bull by the horns.

Since the madness in progress at Warrens Roundabout and its environs  it has been estimated about 30 accidents have occurred. Some will argue the confusion about its use is as a result of the ignorance of Barbadian drivers made worse by the use of Warrens while under construction. Others suggest the type of vehicles (high speed), the heavy volume of traffic and lack of road use savvy continue to be key reasons contributing to the high number of accidents and why the Accident and Emergency Department at the QEH will be kept busy.

Although the Barbados Road Safety website is not current it shows a worrying trend since 2008. Has the time come for policymakers to regulate the number and types of vehicles on our roads?

112 thoughts on “Engineering Band-Aids Will Not Solve Road Woes


  1. On a related note, the stakes are high for government officials in developing countries.

     
    Alarm Blow!• Over Minister’s BMW Car Gift
    Posted on September 5, 2011

    Joe Gidisu
    Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways’ dream of riding a $166,000 state-of-the-art BMW 7 series, 2010 model car, a ‘token’ from a Chinese contractor, has been dashed as President Atta Mills has ordered the seizure of the vehicle.
    Upon hearing about the delivery to the Minister, President Mills ordered the seizure of the car, leaving the soft-spoken minister devastated over the loss.
    Mr Gidisu said the vehicle was only for official assignments and when he realized that it was more than what he needed, he informed the president about it, raising questions about the reasonability of informing the president about a transaction of an agency under his ministry.
    The ministry, in a correspondence, created the impression that he had rejected the said car on account of its ostentations features and to address the moral challenge posed by the transaction.
    This has raised eyebrows regarding the sincerity of the minister even within NDC circles, as it appears to have failed in its mission.
    http://www.dailyguideghana.com/?p=25444#comment-6538


  2. regulating the number of vehicles on our roads would cause the government to lose significant revenue which is badly needed to prop up the champagne taste of an unproductive society with mauby pockets.we need all the revenue we can get to pay for free education, free hospital; free busfares; free housing units and free and fair elections.


  3. and how much will it save by reducing accidents i.e less healthcare cost, less wear and tear on roads i.e less taxes required to repair roads, less forex required if we import less vehicles and less oil. Increased productivity – The benefits are endless!

    Revenue per car = $160.00
    Revenue per SUV = $650.00

    Do the math, what government revenue what this is civil service/bureaucratic thinking.


  4. How ironic. Does anyone remember the medical school that tried to set up here subsequent to the 1983 Grenada incident??? It has now morphed into the St. Georges university in Grenada. Seems like we are always playing catch up!!!


  5. @ david
    Limiting the number of cars is long term. To address the current situation a combination of engineering and land use ‘band-aids’ are required. For example flyovers and not building more government offices in Warrens.


    • @enuff

      Not so fast!

      Do you think the political directorate in Barbados i.e. DLP/BLP has the cajones to regulate the number of vehicles?


  6. @ David
    The traffic situation in Barbados is unsustainable. It WILL change.

    Like all other unsustainable aspects of our lifestyles, that change can be proactive, thoughtful and controlled or it will be reactive and chaotic.

    It takes wise intelligent people to engineer proactive change, so ours will likely be reactive…. Or ‘long term’ as enuff call it.


    • @Bush Tea

      Agree with 100%.

      Some believe flyovers is the answer which supports the status quo and neglects the casual factors.

      Another issue which this blog did not include is the beating on our ecosystem.


  7. Enuff; I essentially agree with your post above. But the long term limiting of the number of cars on the road has to start sometime and I think the best time is now. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t see such a promise in any of the Manifestos for the next elections but whichever party wins should immediately start the ball rolling to reduce the vehicles on the road though a variety of well thought out measures. As you hinted, using NIS funds for infrastructural projects would be more palatable and useful in the long term for big, effective and safe road improvement projects than the Four Seasons type of project that seems to be just throwing monies into the maw of big developers.

    What the current Government also has to do is to immediately correct the current poor signage and make minor improvements in the design of the major warrens roundabout. There have been several accidents and near accidents there. I understand from Barbados Today that there were 22 or so last Friday alone. The big one or ones are yet to come if something isn’t done very soon. Government can obviate most of these accidents by addressing the signage and quickly developing and publicising a detailed Ad campaign on exactly how to use that roundabout, as well as closing the dedicated Simpson’s exit and entrance that is surely a death trap. Several of the accidents were caused by extremely poor signage; changing the signage on an almost daily basis; and requiring motorists who use the roundabout on an almost daily basis to change their habits on that roundabout almost every two days. A prescription for the chaos that has been observed over the last few weeks.

    I think it can be corrected but only if it is done in a strategic way. It has to be fixed now.


  8. David and others

    why wait for gov’t? Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution! Give up your car now. Use the PSV system and report back on your experience.

    When the gov’t starts limiting cars I hope no vehicles for private or use by five or less persons i.e. even taxis are allowed into the country. I always get annoyed when stuck in traffic and then have to pull aside because some big shot with police escort is coming through.

    I prefer to be part of the traffic problem than to be part of the omnibus problem as things now stand.

    The consulting engineer on the Warrens project is being repaid for his contribution to a certain speech made at Haggatt Hall in which the 3S/ABC project was criticised.


  9. @Ping Pong

    There is merit in your position, it is why we have to be strategic in how we tackle the problem, a holistic approach.

    The same approach would be useful in housing. How can we continue to drop houses on the island without proper consideration to drainage, water resources etc.


  10. The very loud screaming that we will hear if Government tries to regulate the importation of motor vehicle, will not be coming from those, described as ” having champagne taste with mauby pockets”, but rather from the gentry with “champagne taste and champagne pockets ,who are responsible for the importation of motor vehicles, predominately new,and who from the shadows ,also financially support one or both political parties. Any vehicle importer who will readily be subjected to import restrictions and penalties ,will be the so -called Reconditioned-Car importer.We should always remember back in 1981 when we were going through a depression, and the then PM Tom Adams, indirectly restrict the importation of certain types of motor cars by placing exorbitantly high import duties on cars with engines above a certain cubic capacity (cc). The result was that one make of vehicle,in particular, fell into this preferred category ,and subsequently the island was flooded with these vehicles, which, I believe , still hold an all time the record for local top motor sales,making the importer very rich.And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
    I am surprised that the present Minister of Transport ,who is a qualified Engineer, having been instrumental in persuading his government to abandoned the idea of Flyovers, has not been able to come up with a better idea.We may not all want to see roads sticking up in the air, but the situation dictates that mind changes will have to take place to accommodate progress. Sooner of later we will have to install flyovers , especially at roundabouts to to relieve our chronic traffic congestion.
    Personally I believe that the professional Traffic Planners at MTW,have the ability to design our highways and junctions to ease traffic flow, but are being hindered and /or overruled by political interference.
    On a final note. In a recent news story it was stated that Bizzy Williams admitted that he had removed and torn up NO ENTRY signs near Warrens Roundabout. Will any criminal charges be brought against him for destroying the property of the Crown,similar to what was attempted against Peter Morgan some years ago for a similar act?


  11. Ping Pong | December 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM |
    David and others

    why wait for gov’t? Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution! Give up your car now. Use the PSV system and report back on your experience.
    ***************************************************************************
    Recently my motor was out of service,and for the first time in “ears”, I was forced to used PSV, both Transport Board and Minibus, I drew the line when it came to ZR’s. I did not have to contend ,as a driver ,with other traffic on the road, nor did I have to bother about finding a parking space on reaching Bridgetown. And yes, after my vehicle was sorted out,I continued to use a PSV,Minibus preferred. When we go overseas , many of us have to use public transport, why not at home?


  12. The impact of even modest growth over time on our resource base remains largely underestimated by both the average voter, and I suspect by the average politician.

    When we hear a figure that some quantity (e.g the number of cars on the roads, the amount of garbage produced by the average household, the amount of electricity consumed per year, the number of passengers arriving at the airport, the number of Bajans contracting diabetes etc) is growing at say, for example, 3% per year, it seems like a very small rate of growth, and it’s a figure that many people would probably regard as a quite benign rate of growth; i.e a growth rate that could be accommodated without too much of a societal disruption.

    However, to get a better grasp of what a constant growth rate of any quantity will mean, it is helpful to figure out the doubling time of the quantity in question, assuming a steady year over year increase. That’s easily done (no heavy duty calculus or advanced algebraic equations required); just divide the number 70 by the growth rate to find how long it will take the quantity under consideration to double in size.

    In the case of a 3% growth rate: 70/3 = 23.33. So, for example, if the number of cars in the island were increasing at roughly 3% per year, the number of cars in the island would double in roughly 23 years. A 5% per year growth rate in the number of cars on the road would mean the car population would double in 70/5 = 14 years; a 2% growth rate would mean a doubling time of 35 years.

    This doubling time more than the raw growth rate itself gives a more meaningful picture of what the planners and managers responsible for developing infrastructure like road systems, new housing developments, air and sea ports, garbage disposal facilities etc have to make plans to accommodate (usually years in advance). As I see it, at 166 sq miles we really don’t have a lot of room to play with, and I think the limits to growth, with regards to cars at any rate, have started to become apparent.

    For more on the topic of the arithmetic of growth (presented in layman’s terms) see the videos and writings by retired University of Colorado physics professor Albert Bartlett here:
    http://www.albartlett.org/presentations/arithmetic_population_energy.html


  13. To Green Monkey:
    I know you enjoyed that walk in the land of higher mathematics, but they are other variables to that equation. The people of Bim have to have the purchasing power to double these vehicle numbers in the prescribed years. On average, most car owners keep the vehicles close to 10-13 years. When you look at the new cars for any specific year, the numbers do not suggest that the equation applies. However, I get your point about the need for our planners to become more scientific in their approach to things.


  14. Whatever was done at Warrens has made the situation worse. Whatever happen to all “the know it all” to all the problems that the Dems said they had. Poor souls.

    My suggestions are:
    1. The first thing I think that the government should do is to stop any further business in this area, it is over saturated.

    2.The extra large roundabouts are uncalled for.

    3. Develop where ever possible roads that could run parallel to ease some of the traffic from the Warrens area.

    4. Forget their pride and look again at the flyovers.

    5.The whole system at the Wildey area is also of much concern. That situation with cars coming down BET hill at break neck speed and with car criss-crossing is a recipe for disaster. Pushing all the traffic down to the Carter area is madness. The traffic would flow better if traffic was allowed to go up and down the Wildey road and up and down road between Shell and BET.

    This government seem to be spending money for the nearly four years that they have been in office in that area and with no positive results, they have made the situation worse. The public needs to know how much money has been spent and how much are the OVER RUNS. The government has been constructing two roundabouts at Frere Pilgrim and Coral Ridge for over three years and they still have not finished. What is the cost of these roundabouts? Certainly there must be cost over runs?

    Now is your chance, Mr PM for a change of minister. This would bring a new direction to this ministry!!


  15. When I said long term I was referring to the results not implementation. As it is now, limiting the number of cars on the road has to be a gradual process focused on new purchases/importation.
    The implementation of such a strategy is not just about traffic but other social, infrastructural, environmental and economic factors.
    What is the state of public transportation and our roads built to make using this service or even cycling attractive? Do our offices have the facilities to cater to people who choose to cycle i.e showers, lockers, locked cycle parking? Who/how will we determine who owns a car, lottery, government, car dealers, households, individuals, job type? Parking permits, Bridgetown permits, ABC permits? What about the unit selling price of cars? Will certain members of society be priced out the market?
    The short-term goal must therefore be how to ease the congestion given the existing number of cars. Congestion results when everyone is heading in the same DIRECTION/DESTINATION at the same TIME. Imagine flyovers at the roundabouts, those new office buildings up Kingsland and workers starting work at 8am, 9am, 10am or even working from home.


    • @enuff

      Your last comment is on the money, a pity in times of plenty we did not demonstrate the vision to build out the required infrastructure.

      The high level of investment in education should make strategic planning a par activity in Barbados.

      Perhaps the Barbados Chamber of Commerce should become active in a lobby to advocate strategic planning by government supported by private sector.


  16. A few years ago some private sector companies did introduce staggered start times for work. It was good for the company as the office was covered for longer hours and for individuals. Say if you worked 9.00am – 6.00pm or 7.00am – 4.00 pm. You missed a lot of the traffic coming and going therefore your overall travel time was shorter.

    Another option might be to look at staggered start times for schools. Once the children are on vacation the roads are much freer and your travel time is reduced. I think they do this in Panama where the young children go in early and the older students start school later.


  17. Whether you have flyovers or roundabouts does not matter when you are moving the same volume of vehicles.

    There is also the problem of narrow roads and large vehicles.

    Has anybody considered staggered working hours instead of everybody going to work at virtually the same time?


    • @Colonel Buggy and Hants

      Don’t for one moment underestimate the prejudices at play in how decisions are made affecting private transport in Barbados.

      Does anyone believe if middle and upper middle-class Barbadians were travelling on the ZRs and minibuses that we would have the chaos which currently exist? The type of drivers etc? The flawed government policy over the years?

      It is because the majority of passengers on the private/public transport are working class Barbadians we have this animal approach to managing the sector.

      There is the snobbishness of middle-class Bajans that would prevent them from catching the public transport even if it were air conditioned. Private/Public transportation has be well and truly stigmatized in much the same way working in agriculture has been.


    • Some may want to be reminded about the issues which were discussed concerning flyovers:

      Barbados Professional Engineers Express Grave Concern About Highway Expansion Project

      By S Coward
      Published 09-Oct-07
      Manufacturing/ Engineering , Associations
      Unrated

      Road drainage needs to be examined

      Bridgetown, Barbados – Oct. 9, 2007 — The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) has already expressed concerns about the ABC Highway expansion project being undertaken by 3S Structural Solutions LLC.

      These concerns include:

      • the contract was agreed without a competitive tender process;

      • the flyover solution was agreed before a traffic study was done; and this study was then undertaken by the same firm whose flyover proposal had already been accepted;

      • the approval process for a project requiring such a large investment of public funds should have included a rigorous technical and economic feasibility study.

      http://www.caribbeanpressreleases.com/articles/2441/1/Barbados-Professional-Engineers-Express-Grave-Concern-About-Highway-Expansion-Project/Page1.html


  18. @ David
    The BLP produced a National Strategic Plan and the Town Planning plan is strategic. The ABC highway when conceptualised by Tom Adams was strategic too.


  19. @ Hants
    It does matter! The big difference is the elimination of the constant need to stop/slow for traffic entering the highway at Sagicor, Haggatt Hall, Neils, Warrens as is the case now with roundabouts.


  20. @enuff,

    So what do you think would be the end result. You just get to the next backup at the traffic lights faster.
    At least that is what happens in rush hour here in Toronto.


  21. There may be some valid reasons why the following doesn’t apply 100% to Barbados, but something to consider anyway:

    Why new roads do not alleviate congestion

    Each year, motorists in Germany collectively spend 234 million hours in traffic jams. According to estimates by the German highway authority, this congestion causes an economic loss of about 3.5 billion Euro per year.

    At first sight, there’s an easy solution to this problem: just build more roads, and the congestion will vanish, won’t it? Automobile lobbyists are pushing this view very strongly, and they are at least partially successful.

    Even in cash-strappedBritain, which is currently enduring the most severe austerity programme since the second world war, the government spends 897 million pounds on new roads, reports George Monbiot.

    However, more roads will not bring an end to congestion. Instead, they will bring more traffic. The American economist Anthony Downs put forward this hypothesis more than four decades ago. He called this idea the “fundamental law of highway congestion”.

    According to an amazing paper by two Canadian economists, Downs really had a point.

    Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner, both affiliated to the UniversityofToronto, empirically analysed the relationship between road building and traffic volumes and came to a very sobering conclusion:

    “increased provision of interstate highways and major urban roads is unlikely to relieve congestion of these roads.”

    The paper is entitled “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities” and has been published in the latest issue of the “American Economic Review”, one of the globally most renowned and demanding economic journals. (Here’s a free working paper version of the paper.)

    Embedded links in the original at:
    http://economicsintelligence.com/2011/10/24/why-new-roads-do-not-alleviate-congestion/


  22. @lemuel
    I was just pulling the 3% figure out of the air as an example to show how even with apparently trivial growth rates, the numbers do start to add up quite significantly after a bit of time goes by, And, by and large, most laypeople are unaware when they read a report or hear on the news that some quantity is growing by X% per year (where X is a small, single digit number) that the numbers will start to total up as quickly and as high as they will if constant growth continues year after year.

    How many cars were there in Barbados 30, years ago compared to how many are on the road today? I believe it is generally conceded that there are more vehicles on the road today than there were 30 years ago. 30 years ago, did anyone notice that vehicle numbers on the road were increasing gradually each year and foresee that “If this growth continues we will have a big time problem with traffic congestion on our hands by the early 2000s?” Well presumably somebody did to some extent, because they built the ABC highway, but even with the ABC highway in place we’ve still got significant traffic problems to deal with. But if anyone had been watching the growth patterns and making the appropriate calculations as more and more vehicles were registered as the years went by, it should not have come as a surprise.


  23. @ Hants
    What traffic lights if your destination is Warrens, Wildey, Waterford, Lears, Two Mile Hill, Welches, Jackson, Edgehill, Haggatt Hall and the many other work/school sites just off the highway? And only one or two sets if you are heading to the West Coast, north of the island, QC, UWI, Pine, Belleville etc. The trip should still be shorter, time wise too.
    Yes, I would take the bus if there’s a bus lane.

    @ Green Monkey
    Cars ‘expand’ to fill available asphalt. lol


  24. I use the Darcy Scott roundabout 6 days a week and except for the fact that MTW in its wisdom reduced the number of lanes coming from Welches just to give Simpson Motors their own lane (I guess that is why people call it the Simpson Motors roundabout) and then refused to prevent drivers from turning right across traffic into Chefette and Shell, I see nothing wrong with it. The problem is the large number of can’t drive people we have on the roads.

    Hidiots come down from Welches in the Simpson Motors lane and then want to proceed up the ABC Highway. Another set come down in the middle lane intending to go over to CGI. Then there is still another set of Hidiots that come down in the right lane, it has the least amount of traffic after all, and then proceed to go up the ABC Highway as cool as a cucumber in a freezer.

    Now do not for one moment believe that you can come down from the Warrens roundabout in the left lane, turn left and merge with traffic going towards the CGI roundabout, as the markings indicate you are allowed to do. No way Jose. Some hidiots coming around the roundabout from UWI or from over by the same Simpson Motors, do not know what the solid line means and will drive over it into that lane and proceed to cuss you for not giving away to them.

    Now wunna see why the police will soon have to camp out there?


  25. This is a democracy and every hidiot has the right to own a vehicle and to keep a driver’s licence as long as he can pay the fees and any penalties imposed on him or her. Plus the authorities and insurance companies love them, even though they would have us believe otherwise.
    It is therefore the other drivers that must protect themselves from the hidiots on the roads.


    • @Transporter

      If what you say is true is says more about the system of certification than it does for the hidiots.


  26. When a new vehicle is bought in Barbados, the purchaser is really paying three times the CIF value of that vehicle, government taxes and duties amount to just over the CIF value each depending on the type of vehicle bought the government profits increase. When vehicles are restricted, and Simpson, Courtesy and the others call the authories to a meeting who can look them in the face and stand firm? Flyovers will ease the situation but not rectify it, the ecosystem has already been destroyed with the amount of highrise buildings which have gone up and many more to come, we can’t want to be considered first world with third world mentality. Right now millions and millions of dollars is being spent yet it seems no-one has sat and come up with a good solution, everyday something else is being changed overnight. There seem to be no communication between departments, I see NCC, really beautified the portion of road betwwen the two roundabouts at Warrens only to see heavy equipment digging up the nice polants a month later, to enlargen one of the roundabouts. MADNESS.


  27. Transporter.

    I also use the roundabout practically everyday and even though what you say may have a miniscule amount of merit. I think that most of the accidents at the Simpson’s roundabout are not the fault of the “Hidiots” as you call them but of the Signage or lack thereof on the approach to the roundabout from every angle and the new shape of the roundabout which has been changed from circular to somewhat oblong making it difficult to see what other drivers are doing on one’s right and sometimes one’s left. The markings in the roundabout also appear to be wrong. For example I agree with you that there should be no left turns from the roundabout centre or middle lanes into the chefette / gas station road. However, the broken lane markings in the roundabout for the central lane allows this but the sign on the road from welches says “to UWI ONLY” for that lane. To compound this folly there is provision for persons in that lane to proceed towards UWI and turn left into the new road leading to Kentucky FC and the new NIS building.

    There should be a solid line on the roundabout that ensures that people do not turn left from that lane but proceed straight and use the new road to get wherever they need to go like Cheffete, Super centre, Mannings, PriceSmart etc. It is not the “Hidiots” who are at fault in this case it has to be the Officials who designed the road use package.

    Similarly, from Welches, to go to the Polyclinic, one has to take the outermost left lane, next to the dedicated Simpsons lane. One has to be watching like a hawk, left and right, to avoid people (not Hidiots) who are accustomed to jam busting, from sideswiping one. Indeed It is now near impossible to get into the innner lane from the welches approach to turn right at the polytechnic roundabout and go down the road where the Polytechnic, Mannings, Everson Elcock, etc are sited.

    The fault is not primarily because of the “Hidiots” but of the poor signage, and regular changes the authorities have been making re. usage of the roundabout.

    I agree with you that the police will have to camp out there, however, not to prosecute the “Hidiots” primarily, but to get the message across to the designers and road planners by letting them know of the sheer volume of accidents and near misses, that they need to do better in their designs and signs and PR campaign to get people to change their usage habits from the routines of safely using a roundabout they have been accustomed to for several years to the almost death trap that this one has become. No matter how careful you are, someone, who is not an “Hidiot” can easily hit you following what would normally be good roundabout protocol because of several problems with that roundabout.

    22 or more separate acccidents in one day at one roundabout, where conditions are not slippery, cannot be the fault of the “Hidiots” alone. Are you one of the designers, MTW officials or COW Williams technicians who seeks to put the blame for the accidents on “Hidiots”? Study the situation some more and come again.


  28. I forgot to mention above that the Jambusting, outer, lane should be mandatory for persons approacing the roundabout from UWI if they are going towards the Polyclinic. If they are going back to UWI or going to Chefette or the Gas Station they should have to use the central lane. Proper signage and PR could ensure this.

    I think the Roundabout only needs a few changes to be made safe. But the authorities have to recognize that they have a big life threatening problem and come up with the simple solutions that can solve it. Not consider that all the problems are caused by “Hidiots” and do nothing to change the design and other faults in the system.


  29. Transporter;

    You said in your post above.

    “Then there is still another set of Hidiots that come down in the right lane, it has the least amount of traffic after all, and then proceed to go up the ABC Highway as cool as a cucumber in a freezer”

    Do you realize that the markings on the road specifically allow that manouver and that if they hit someone that person would be at fault, not them? Ask the police or the Insurance Companies. It is the fault of the authorities. Not the “Hidiots” , Except that they should be taking all proper care and attention.


  30. In my 10:21 post I meant to say inner lane, not Central lane. The Central lane is no longer used and indeed, should be blocked out to stop people from even thinking of using it.


  31. Who gave Jada permission to plant a garden in the middle of the highway. That thing sticking out in the lane is an accident waiting to happen. I cannot believe that Town and Country Planning who gives ordinary Bajans girca when they submit a plan, could have given permission to build this planter right in road, it is not even off the hard shoulder. I am amazed. But it seems as if Jada can do whatever they like in this country!!!


  32. Perhaps we should also look at the use of Traffic Lights at certain roundabouts. When Jamaica made plans to install traffic lights at some roundabouts ,many thought that it is ludicrous . On a visit to the grand old UK . I’ve noticed traffic lights at a roundabout, near Heathrow. And why should it not work here to relieve the chronic grid lock we at times experience at many a roundabout? A round-a-bout junction is just a modified Cross Road Junction. I am still of the opinion,that future road planning could look at adequately designed Staggered Junctions at crossings on the ABC Highway not controlled by roundabouts, and where motorists are not now allowed to cross over .ie like the one adjacent to the Deighton Griffith School.


  33. Appollo 13 | December 27, 2011 at 10:39 PM |
    Who gave Jada permission to plant a garden in the middle of the highway. That thing sticking out in the lane is an accident waiting to happen. I cannot believe that Town and Country Planning who gives ordinary Bajans girca when they submit a plan, could have given permission to build this planter right in road, it is not even off the hard shoulder. I am amazed. But it seems as if Jada can do whatever they like in this country!!!

    This is the biggest load of codswallop that I’ve seen for a long time. At a place where a motorist joining the highway from the Villages,needs an uncluttered ,unrestricted view of traffic travelling up the highway, some idiot decided to erect a forest in the middle of the road. It also prevents motorist already on the highway from seeing emerging traffic.
    The width of the hard shoulder should not have been sacrifice to accommodate the protruding triangle. And there was bitter complaint some years ago when Hinds Transport planted certain trees at the roundabout they had adopted on the ABC Highway.
    We have not progressed much beyond the evergreen tree by the plantation yard gap.
    Perhaps Bizzy Williams will go there and personally uproot all those trees.
    But isn’t this the same man who placed jersey barriers on the public road outside the villages, blocking off access to the Mr Legall’s ready mix concrete business (the green trucks) which was established there before work had started on the villages?


  34. despite its faults ,it is the same civil service/bureaucratic thinking that has kept this country punching above its weight.the wear and tear on the roads is caused by the humongous heavy duty vehicles used by the construction companies to reduce their overheads and increase profits not the little 1600’s like mine or yours david..


  35. i think kofi annan former UNSecretary General; but the comment does have some merit when compared to other countries of similar size vwith more resources.


  36. @balance

    Even if you are correct that same bureaucratic civil service approach will not take us very far in today’s world.

    Will defer to you on the matter of wear and tear which still leave several other considerations you did not respond to.

    Additionally when the term civil service thinking is used it is more about identifying a bureaucratic process when contrasted with entrepreneur. Not meant most of the time to disparage civil servants.


  37. public service innovation has suffered as a result of the implementation of the 1974 constitutional amendments where all roads have since led to the political directorate.no longer do we have Heads of Departments of the calibre of rudolp daniel, frank blackman etc who did not sacrifice principle and integrity for personal aggrandisement.what we have managing the service now is a bunch of certified but incompetent yes men/women who pander to the whims and fancies of the politician to preserve their status quo. we do not really have any entrepeneurs in barbados.where is the innovation after alll these years which has emerged from the business community? what i see is a nation of advanced shop-keepers who speculate at a high level and rely on government contracts to keep their busineeses afloat.


  38. Balance
    I agree with you, the problem in Barbados is really in zoning for the schools and flexy and longer working hours for businesses. This would vastly improve productivity and lower the umemployment level, employees wouldn’t have the excuse of coming in late because they had to pay a bill or do some other business with another company which carries the same opening hours. There are some many benefits by flexy hours, parents can either see their school child off to school or returning from school while still putting in their eight hourds per day.The roads would be less congestive , with drivers speeding to get children off to school and still reach work on timeWe can’t be thinking first world with banks still closing at 3 P.M and most businesses closing at 4.30 P.M.Most businesses should open until 10 P.M and supermarkets allowed to open after that hour, we have to move with the times or left behind.


  39. @balance

    Onside with your last comment.

    We need to decide how we want to plan our society for the foresable future. It will call for a little leadership at many levels of society.


  40. Wunna see wah I jus’ see … David bloggin at 3:51 AM … Jesus H C’rist man, sleep nah …! You got to take a res’ man … Yah done win the blogger of the year award … Now tek shit, hol’ baf and res’ ya’self man ..


  41. According to today’s Advocate newspaper, there have been at least 30 accidents at the Warrens roundabout in the last month. An anonymous official has been quoted as saying that a review of the design may be required. I am puzzled. Isn’t the present design in accordance with established design principles and codes? If not, why not? Who approved the present design – the same official who now admits that he/she may have got it wrong? Where is the voice of BAPE (which was so vocal on the ABC expansion issue)? Does anyone remember a request for tenders on the design work at Warrens? Was there a competitive process for selection of the consulting engineers? Did we learn anything from the 3S debacle ?


  42. @ Ping Pong | December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM |

    And the overall boss is also an engineer so there ought not to be a lack of technical expertise. Or are we dealing with another facet of the political animal?


  43. Minister of Transport John Boyce and Minister Donville Inniss who is MP for the area have been vocal about the ongoing improvement will bring. We need to hear them on the Warrens mess.

    BAPE where are you?

    Is this another politically influenced entity?

    Minister John Boyce needs to go.


  44. Millertheanunnaki

    our host David has stated that solutions to our (national) problems will only come through strategic thinking that addresses ALL variables. Would it be true to say that such thinking or more critically the implementation of solutions derived from such thinking be unlikely to happen in a system of electoral politics where hidden vested interests predominate? If so, how do we militate against the influence of hidden vested interests?


  45. “A similar spiritual fate awaits the Warrens new town if this sacred tree is violated in a similar uncaring fashion.”

    It seems that the spirits of our ancestors that found earthly sanctuary in that silk cotton tree and which were rudely disturbed earlier this month of peace and goodwill are beginning to work their “black magic” starting with the “around the bout of madness”. The next tragedy could be flooding in the area caused by the extensive concreting of a natural pond area.


  46. Checkit-Out | December 27, 2011 at 10:09 PM |
    The markings in the roundabout also appear to be wrong. For example I agree with you that there should be no left turns from the roundabout centre or middle lanes into the chefette / gas station road. However, the broken lane markings in the roundabout for the central lane allows this but the sign on the road from welches says “to UWI ONLY” for that lane. To compound this folly there is provision for persons in that lane to proceed towards UWI and turn left into the new road leading to Kentucky FC and the new NIS building.
    ********************************************************************************************
    There are two separate issues here.
    #1. The right turns into Chefette and Shell are easy to prevent. A concrete curb is all that is required to force people to go to the roundabouts and enter these places on the left. They should also be made to turn left when exiting.

    #2. Coming from the direction of the polyclinic, the left lane appears to be a deceleration lane as there are no markings across it. There is also a solid line through the roundabout that persons coming from UWI, Welches , ACE or Williams Tools should not cross. They are supposed to keep to the right of that lane and turn where it is indicated by the broken lines. I see nothing wrong with that.

    The problem however, is the hidi… ahm people that block the flow of traffic by waiting to turn right across oncoming traffic into the gas station, instead of going to the CGI roundabout and coming back. This forces other drivers to go around them and into this deceleration lane.
    *****************************************************************************************
    Checkit-Out | December 27, 2011 at 10:32 PM |

    Transporter;

    You said in your post above.

    “Then there is still another set of Hidiots that come down in the right lane, it has the least amount of traffic after all, and then proceed to go up the ABC Highway as cool as a cucumber in a freezer”

    Do you realize that the markings on the road specifically allow that manouver and that if they hit someone that person would be at fault, not them? Ask the police or the Insurance Companies. It is the fault of the authorities. Not the “Hidiots” , Except that they should be taking all proper care and attention.
    *************************************************************************************

    Perhaps I was not clear, but I was speaking about vehicles coming down the hill from Welches. There are two lanes at the junction not counting the “Simpson Only” lane. The left lane then is marked ABC H’way and the right lane as you stated earlier is marked UWI.

    How then is that particular manoeuvre permitted?


  47. What we have at Warrens is bad planning of land resources orchestrated by Town Planning and by extension government over many years. This is an indictment on Barbadians given our level of investment in education.


  48. Investments do not always bring the expected level of returns.

    What we have at Warrens are decisions made to benefit a few at the expense of the many.

    Why spend so much money to accommodate traffic that only pass through Warrens because the roads that would enable people to avoid that area and most of the ABC highway are in a deplorable state and not even fit to push a box cart on?

    Why is it so difficult to find money to buy more buses and allow the Transport Board to offer more cross country services, but very easy to find some to make rich road builders richer?


  49. @ Miller

    “And the overall boss is also an engineer so there ought not to be a lack of technical expertise” You mean a BIG MOUT’ engineer … there’s a difference …!

    @ David

    Kefin Simpson is the biggest distributor of Mercedes Benz in China … Think about that for a moment …! Now re-access your last remark ..


  50. Transporter; You said above;

    Perhaps I was not clear, but I was speaking about vehicles coming down the hill from Welches. There are two lanes at the junction not counting the “Simpson Only” lane. The left lane then is marked ABC H’way and the right lane as you stated earlier is marked UWI. How then is that particular manoeuvre permitted?

    As you’ve explained it would seem particularly stupid for someone coming from Welches to go into the right lane dedicated for travelling to UWI only and then go left into the ABC only lane. But there are very few, if any, people coming from Welches who would do that. The problem is the people who are either coming from UWI and who enter the roundabout’s inner lane while intending to go towards the polyclinic (a manouver that the broken lines permit) or those people who are coming from the Polyclinic direction and for some reason are going back there after going around the roundabout. They both have to use the inner lane of the roundabout. Those people are allowed by the broken line to proceed into the left, ABC highway dedicated lane, because, as I was told by Officials (private Sector and Government), that traditional usage of the roundabout in Barbados allows people in that lane to go straight ahead or go around the roundabout. The person in the left lane is then operating on the basis of the person on the right is always right, the person on the left is wrong. I suspect most of the accidents on the roundabout is caused by that simple design/signage/interpretation “flaw”. As I mentioned in an earlier post that problem could be (partially) corrected by somehow ensuring that mixed signals or signage are not sent re use of the 2 lanes. The designers have a serious problem in how to allow persons who are legitimately in that inner (right) lane to proceed towards the ABC highway. Part of the problem could be reduced significantly if persons coming from UWI and intending to go to the ABC highway (towards the Polyclinic) are constrained to use the left (jambusting) lane only on entering the roundabout . However, that doesn’t solve the problem of the relatively few persons who must use the inner lane coming around the roundbout prior to exiting it for the left lane to go back up to the ABC highway (Polyclinic). If things remain as they are those persons will always have a serious problem of how to safely get onto the left lane to go back towards the polytechnic.

    At present, unless it was changed very recently, the markings allow them to very dangerously merge with the traffic. An accident caused by such a manouvre would most likely be deemed by the police and the insurance people as the fault of the person who was reasonably travelling in the left lane when he was suddenly hit by the person changing lanes as the broken lines in the lane permit it and the person doing the hitting would have been on the right.

    The problem is made more horrific by the presence of the dedicated Simpson exit being right in the mix. That lane needs to be blocked off permanently.

    People entering the roundabout from Welches have the simple choice of using the Left lane in the roundabout to go left onto the ABC via the polyclinic OR using the Right lane in the roundabout to go towards UWI where they can safely use the nearby New NHC Building exit on the UWI road to access all the businesses in the Cheffette, Gas Station, Supercentre, etc. complexes. There is no need for a left turn exit directly off the roundabout to access those businesses. Those broken lines that indicate such is legal should be removed. That right turn side that says to UWI only should mean exactly that. There should be no direct left turns from the roundabout into the Cheffette/Shell road.


  51. David wrote “This is an indictment on Barbadians given our level of investment in education.”

    Some Barbadians not all.

    I do not understand why the “Designers/Engineers would not want to hear Bajans saying ” man dah roundabout at Warrens is de best wun bout hey.
    Dem Engineers really know wuh dem doing.”

    Pride and Industry? Wha happen to Pride.


  52. Roland Toppin still blue vex that the Cabinet that he walk away from (over the FTC) gone an’ implement a plan that drive a highway straight thru his constituency … now not even the dogs in the neighborhood could pass from one side to the other …


  53. @BAFBFP | December 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM |
    “Kefin Simpson is the biggest distributor of Mercedes Benz in China … Think about that for a moment …! Now re-access your last remark ..”

    And that is why he should be the biggest backer of the 4 Seasons project along with some Chinese investment, IADB contribution and NIS minority interest.
    Any word on the Almond Beach fate?


  54. An alternative would be to have a feeder lane starting 200 or 300 Kms before the roundabout and allows people to merge onto the adjacent Highway.without going through the roundabout.


  55. @BAFBFP

    Are you intimating that because Sir Kyffin is generating forex (we are assuming this forex lands in Barbados?) that he should enjoy a dedicated causeway?

    @Hants

    In three words ‘costly land acquisition’.


  56. To echo Ping Pong’s call of this morning – what is BAPE’s position on the Warren’s mess?

    Does the unprecedented number of accidents warrant a statement from Minister Boyce and MPs for the area?

    Doesn’t Warrens have a Residents Association and is this not an excellent time to be vocal (hint), a general election is looming.

    Finally is this not a news story where some ‘yellow’ reporting from local media maybe accommodate because it involves human lifes and waste of public capital?


  57. David

    Yep …!

    Miller

    Mr Simpson ain’ got to do a t’ng. He (like Rihanna) is truly a citizen of the world, and if you wants tah keep he yah supposed to mek he undereducated ass happy, even if it means giving he a permanent seat on the board of the Central Bank . Look I am not going to dis academics again, I tired a dah now, but I am saying the yardstick for accomplishment is set and those who refuse to advertise and promote it in fear of losing their relevance are forced to pay in ways that may seem ridiculous to the uninformed eye …


  58. @ BAFBFP | December 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM |

    I agree the man is a big net forex earner and deserves pride of place.
    Your favourite talk show hostess M H even recommended him for the post of GG. But this would be cramping the man’s style. Business is in his DNA not pomp & pageantry like lawyers.
    The 4 Season investment would be the ultimate coup de grace in his business warfare. He would be hailed as the king in golden armour and with his oily super profits and dragon earnings save Bim from pending disaster.


    • Perhaps an indication of how vibrant and attuned to current reality the BAPE is can be ascertained HERE.

      BAPE’s article database has not been updated since 10 Feb 2010!


    • @Transporter

      The people at CGI can switch their entrance to the BNB side of the building, but I suspect it would be a hard sell to get Haloute to agree that his customers should go up to the roundabout by the polyclinic in order to get to his barn. Not after you have made it easier for the Colonel’s customers to get to him.

      Is this how it is done?

      When we engage in national planning it must be based on appeasement?


  59. @ David (BU) whenever I travel to other countries, I have to bus it or catch the train. Don’t worry economic woes will soon cause the noses of a lot of middle class people to be a lot lower.
    I would pay for public transport if it is
    on time
    efficient (a service which means I don’t have to be at the bus stop from 4:00am and still don’t get a bus that is crammed with people until 7:00am)
    relevant (routes well thought out before implementation)
    the vehicles are air-conditioned


  60. Hants

    How could anyone other than Simpson or either of the Williams brothers answer that question …? I know one of them gotta borrow the airplane from the other …!


  61. @Checkit-Out | December 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM |
    Assuming that the plan is to eliminate the right turns that prevent traffic from flowing freely.
    Then the only problem with your suggestions is that persons wanting to do business at the CGI building or Chefette would still have to turn right across oncoming traffic, when there are two roundabouts in close proximity that could be used to eliminate these turns.
    The people at CGI can switch their entrance to the BNB side of the building, but I suspect it would be a hard sell to get Haloute to agree that his customers should go up to the roundabout by the polyclinic in order to get to his barn. Not after you have made it easier for the Colonel’s customers to get to him.


  62. Where is the evidence that has caused you to hold the view that it was otherwise?

    Wait a minute… that was one of those rhetorical question?


  63. Miller

    De man don’ owe us nuttin’, he don’ even need dah Sirship den… I don’ even t’ink he care what colour armor he get seen as wearing. Bajans need to recognize that they are just a market, that’s all. And some of those who have mastered the craft of capitalizing on this market have long since moved on. We should just let them be. They have exploited our needs and now they are exploiting other people’s needs as well. If they bring FOREX well that makes me feel all gooey inside. If they don’ … give a shit. At least COW is a farmer, that means he produces something …


  64. Planning based on appeasement?
    You can bet your life on it.

    Everybody knows that people waiting to turn into the Shell (or is it SOL?) gas station causes the traffic to back up into the roundabout.
    Why has nothing been done to correct that problem in operation free flow?

    Can you remember the Clermont experiment, why was it halted and that fancy U-turn created?

    Why are humps placed in neighbourhoods where you don’t even see a dog in the road, but never in the districts where children actually play in the roads?


  65. Transporter;
    Oops! You’re right about the need for people going to Chefette and CGI to turn right when coming from the second Kentucky roundabout if my back of the envelope ideas were to be implemented. I had’nt thought about that. But, in my case these are just ideas being tossed around. We should probably let the Road planners do their job and come up with a solution that is safe for most motorists even if some well heeled persons are unhappy. e.g. is there space for a steep short road or ramp connecting chefette and the back of the Super Centre car park while CGI use an expanded / redesigned BNB entrance? However, the best way is probably to leave things as they currently are as far as that particular problem is concerned and allow people to exit from the inner roundabout lane into the cheffette/shell/CGI road. This might work well if a proper PR and Education campaign on the use of the roundabout is mounted and maintained for several months.


  66. The present Minister of Transport should recognise that he is in fact a national Minister for the entire island, and not just Oistin, Welches and Scarborough. All over the island there are pedestrians crossing, which many drivers find difficulty in recognising during the day, furthermore at nights,yet the goodly minister has seen it fit to approve the erection of 3 sets of Belisha beacons between Super Centre and the Post Office in Oistins. Perhaps these beacons are not meant for the local populace.


  67. @ David

    Would it be possible for you or one of the posters here on BU to get hold of a current map showing how traffic (with arrows etc.) is expected to circumnavigate the new Warrens (confusion at its highest) roundabout and post it on BU for us all to have a look? I, for one, (elderly, disabled and underprivileged) would be most grateful if this could be done.


  68. Are the Insurance Companies saying anything about the silly Warrens turn -about. For crying out loud CGI is right there, surely they can look at it and see it is a waste of precious tax payers money. Cheeze man.


  69. How about drivers learning to indicate on roundabouts so everyone can tell where cars are headed. This of course would require a change to the Highway Code and the driving test specifications but, hey, if even if it takes 20 years you’ve got to start somewhere!


  70. @de hood

    Good to see you out and about 🙂

    We have had the odd diagram in the Press but the readability has been less than what you would want. Will see if there is something knocking around the Internet or if others can post it would appreciated.


  71. @ David

    Thanks Dave. You would realise that as I am rapidly approaching advanced years (senility?) I do not relish having to be scraped up off the road at Warrens if I inadvertently made some “hidiotic” mistake while trying to negotiate the maze at that roundabout. Follow me?


  72. @de hood

    This advice may sound hidiotic after spending millions at Warrens but here it is anyway:

    Avoid using ‘that’ roundabout if you can!


    • @de hood

      Have not been able to find a diagram for the Darcy Scott roundabout but found this titbit on the MTW website:


      UPDATE ON THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND WORKS ROAD WORKS ACTIVITIES FOR
      December 19th – December 23rd , 2011

      The Ministry of Transport and Works and C.O Williams Construction remind the public of the correct use of the roundabout at D’arcy Scott. If travelling south from Redman’s Village and going to the Everton Weekes Roundabout, you MUST select the CENTRE Lane which also takes you to the supermarket, CGI or the gas station, as the far left lane is dedicated to Simpson Motors, H&B Hardware and all the other businesses located in the Williams Industrial Complex. The right lane (closest to the roundabout) will take you; or up the hill to the University or right around to return north if you are going to Clermont, Crystal Heights or Queen’s College at Husbands. The lanes on the other legs of the roundabout remain the same.


  73. @ David,
    Many thanks, Dave. I guess that will have to suffice for now. It seems that it is now a matter of jumping in at the “deep end” and testing the “waters” for oneself. Would it not have been a lot simpler to “fly-over”? You think? I guess those who wished to be able to “fly-over” will now have to rent a helicopter. 🙂


  74. BTW, David, to you and all the other posters here on BU, best wishes for a peaceful and spiritually guided New Year.
    de hood.


  75. The really sad thing about the supposedly centuries old tree is that no one seeks to explain the rot which appears to have been from the bottom up.

    It has survived for years in a watercourse and one would question the health of the watercourse …. particularly as it feeds the Belle and Codrington water wells which make up a substantial percentage of our already over committed water resources.

    Are there other trees in the watercourse that are similarly afflicted?

    Can their health be also guaged by an experienced eye?


    • @John

      Is it true that an aged old tree can live with a hollow for many many years and does not mean immediate death?


  76. I’ve been assured by an expert that It would have been most surprising if the Silk Cotton Tree at Warrens did not have a hollow trunk. Practically all Silk Cotton trees of that age have hollow trunks and can survive for additional centuries with such hollows. The Caribbean, Latin America and West Africa are replete with examples of Old Silk cotton trees that are healthy and show no sign of succumbing to disease or old age. It is also very unlikely that contaminated water could have been the cause of the hollowed trunk. An old Silk cotton tree with a hollowed trunk is the norm.


  77. I don’t know much about trees!!

    I don’t know if the tree was sick …. or not.

    I am simply following the logic of the authorities that it was sick and trying to understand why and what it signals to us.

    Maybe it was not sick, but if it was as the authorities say, I would sure like the said same authorities to come up with an explanation of what caused the sickness.

    Was it environmental factors, eg heavy sewage load from housing developments in the Warrens area, ….. agricultural or other chemicals from businesses in the area, …… petroleum products from the gas station and garages in the water course ……

    Was it the trimming?

    What caused the sickness?

    With the proximity of a major portion of our water resources it seems to me the illness of the tree raises more worrying questions than it answers for the authorities!!


  78. You see, on the opposite side of the road from the tree is a drainage well dug to get the run off from the water course underground.


  79. David; On deep consideration of the information on the correct use of the Darcy Stuart roundabout given in an earlier post. I have to reluctantly agree with your advice in your 4:41 post yesterday.

    Avoid that roundabout whenever possible.

    If I am reading the Ministry’s information correctly the officially sanctioned procedures for people coming south from Redman’s village is;
    a) Go into the rightmost, inner lane of the roundabout if intending to go in the direction of the University
    b) Go into the middle lane if intending to exit onto the road leading to Chefette / the Shell gas Station.
    c) Go into the right lane (not the dedicated Simpson complex lane) if going west towards the polyclinic.

    That is a sure prescription for more accidents, imho, especially as the road markings do not seem to accord with these directions. I recently had a look at the roundabout for several minutes from a high vantage point and it was clear that allowing persons to take the middle lane to exit to the Chefette road must have been partially responsible for many of the accidents so far. Similarly, allowing persons to exit from the Simpson’s complex and drive across oncoming traffic to exit onto the Chefette road is another slew of major accidents waiting to happen. That road should be totally blocked out. It will always be a menace to life and limb. In addition, the pedestrian crossing leading from the Simpson’s complex to Chefette, looks like another potential death trap.

    MTW and the COW WIlliams people need to spend at least a morning or afternoon looking down on the roundabout from upstairs Simpson’s motors or the Super Centre complex and observe carefully how people are actually using the roundabout. If they spend a whole morning or afternoon they will almost certainly see several near misses and perhaps a few accidents, all caused by very unclear planning and signage.

    Its urgent to take action now before somebody gets killed there.


  80. I must confess that I never use the centre lane to go towards CGI, I always use the right lane.
    Using the centre lane for that manoeuvre, imho, is the height of idiocy.

    I mean, how can you have people coming from UWI using the right lane to get to the gas station and then at the same time telling people coming from Welches, they cannot use that same right lane to get to the said gas station?

    Anyway, the right lane coming down from Welches was marked over today. “UWI Only” has now been changed to straight ahead or turn right arrow.

    Now someone will only have to clarify if “straight” means ABC and right means CGI or UWI, or if “straight” means “CGI only”.

    Things should hopefully be a little clearer then. 😉


  81. On Tuesday morning around 10.30am at Warrens round about I saw a woman driving around the roundabout on the right hand side instead of keeping left. All cars were going towards her and she was trying to make her way though us. This is not the first time I have seen people doing this. This woman was a local and not a tourist!


  82. Scout there is no one dumber than you on this blog since you were voted the dumbest blogger for 2011 you are vying for that title again this year. GO TO BED YOU OLD GEEZER!

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