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STREET BEAT: Safe to cross


Carlos Atwell, carlosatwell @nationnews.com

STREET BEAT: Safe to cross

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OPINIONS ARE DIVIDED regarding the new traffic lights on the Spring Garden Highway. Motorists mostly think it is a nuisance and pedestrians see it as a godsend.

The lights came into effect as a safety response to highway accidents and deaths over the years, some involving residents of nearby Deacons and neighbouring communities attempting to cross in order to access Brandons Beach.

Motorists Tammy and Gregory, as they asked to be identified, told Street Beat the measure was all wrong. They said the only way it could work was with a reduction in the speed limit as the warnings were too close to the actual crossing.

“If I’m going across there at 80 kilometres per hour (kph), those 100-metre warnings are not anything at all. They may have to look at changing the speed limit,” said Tammy.

Gregory said accidents would be “inevitable” at the crossing, drawing similarities to the traffic lights on the highway near the Speightstown bus terminal. He said he also felt pedestrians would use the crossing incorrectly.

“I feel people gine just come and press the lights and walk across one time without looking at who stopping. It should have been a walkover instead,” he said.

Curtis Smith, another motorist, said the location was not ideal and, like Tammy, thought the whole thing was a bad idea, period.

“I don’t think the lights are situated where drivers can notice them properly,” he said. “They are not obvious and the warning is not noticeable either and they are too close to the signal, especially with the speed limit at 80 kph.

“I don’t think those lights are a good idea on this road at that speed limit. A better alternative may be an overpass or underpass,” he said.

Another driver, Josh, as he identified himself, said, however, that the system could work but just needed more awareness.

“I feel the system would work, just that the road users would have to be educated about it,”he said. “At the end of the day, people let loose on this highway and with this system, if you don’t watch yourself, you will catch yourself scrambling.”

Anderson Taitt, another motorist, offered two sides of the argument. He said it was a good thing but should have been implemented better.

“I think it is a very good aspect because people are always crossing to go to the beach but I think they could have put the warnings further back so people could see it better. If you don’t know, then you can pick it up late – some people ain’t familiar with the area,” he said.

On the pedestrian side, Shane St Catherine said it was “the best thing that happened on the highway right now”.

“It was very hard to cross to go to the beach especially when you got one or more children with you; traffic don’t want to stop,” he said.

David Blackman also sang the praises of the measure, saying some motorists stopped even when the light was green. He said he used the lights daily to get to the sea and the change was very noticeable.

David Hinds said the lights made crossing worry-free, adding it was “a real good thing”.

Mavis Hinkson was home on vacation and offered some constructive criticism.

“When I first came, I pressed the button and the light came on but this car sail and went through. I don’t think people expect to see the stop lights here but in Florida we have cameras and when you go through the lights, a US$135 fine. Also, I think the lights timer is a bit short,” she said.

Valerie Brathwaite expressed apprehension at using the lights. She said she thought a walkover was going to be put in place. “I hope people stop,” she added.

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