Transport Minister Boyce promises a safe crossing, but how many more will die before it’s built?
On Sunday July 11, 2010, Errol Briggs was struck by an auto and killed as he tried to cross Spring Garden Highway from the beach. Many will agree with us that he died because like thousands of his fellow citizens every week, Briggs was forced to play Russian roulette on the highway – just for a sea bath.
Errol Briggs died because for the last 20 years successive governments have been walling off access to the sea for ordinary Bajans. Whether faced with a wall of condos or a dangerous highway, the result is the same for citizens and visitors who want to enjoy the beach.
What use is a tiny break between condos when there is nowhere to park? What use is a wide open beach when there is no pedestrian walkway from the community and an unbroken line of traffic is shooting by at highway speed? What did the stupid Town Planners think would happen when they allowed the highway at Spring Garden and made no provision for the community to cross to the beach?
Development has been totally without concern for our right to access our beaches.
This is not a DLP or BLP problem – it is a politician problem. The developers give “campaign donations” and the politicians forget about the rest of us. It is as if ordinary citizens are the problem when weighed against the money developers give to politicians.
Not to forget that pedestrians – adults and children – aren’t important to the Town Planners: only cars are.
As Sharmane Roland-Bowen of the Barbados Road Safety Association says about Spring Garden…
“When the Spring Garden Highway was cut, it went right through a community and a lot of people still utilise that highway to access recreational areas down there and we need to put provisions in place to protect them”
But we have to wait for a larger pile of dead bodies before anything is done…
“We need to do something before we have another fatality down there; it is only when there is a fatality you hear this talk and then it dies down until something happens again. That whole Spring Garden Highway is a black spot and over and over again throughout the years it has proven to be detrimental to vulnerable road users,”
… Sharmane Roland-Bowen as quoted in Reduce speed limit on Spring Garden
Is Minister Boyce telling the truth about delivering Spring Garden Highway pedestrian access?
According to an article in the Barbados Advocate, Transport Minister John Boyce stated that a pedestrian crossing, an overpass or an underpass, will be constructed at Spring Garden Highway. He also said that “plans” were also on the way for work at St. Barnabas and the CBC to make those areas safer for pedestrians.
“In responding to a query on what was being done to ensure that pedestrians could safely access the nearby Brighton beach, Minister Boyce said that currently the Spring Garden Highway was under review by the technical team at the Ministry of Transport and Works, in an effort to provide the safest possible route for pedestrians who needed to cross the highway.”
… Transport Minister John Boyce quoted in the article Pedestrian access coming to Spring Garden Highway
Again we must point out the habit of Government Ministers to make announcements of “plans” and “reviews” as if mere words constituted real action.
For instance, The Bajan Reporter recently carried a story quoting Transport Minister Boyce saying that modern anti-drunk driving laws are “on the table”. Sorry folks, we don’t believe Minister Boyce because we’ve been lied to for ten years on the issue of breathalyzers and anti-drunk driving laws.
(See Ian Bourne’s excellent article Barbados’ Transport Minister remains mum on 3S Flyover Cancellation and see how Minister Boyce responded to some “difficult” questions on “difficult” issues.)
Dear Transport Minister Boyce…
OK, Minister Boyce… the clock has started ticking on your statement that “Either a pedestrian crossing, an overpass or an underpass will be introduced to the Spring Garden Highway.”
When is the next meeting of the assessment committee? Have you given them a deadline to report to you? What is that deadline? Have you already made interim provisions to set aside funding on a priority basis? How much?
Here’s what we’re going to do at Barbados Free Press to assist you Minister Boyce and make sure you don’t forget about the dead and injured at Spring Garden… Once a month we’ll feature you at the top of the page with the number of days since you promised to provide safe crossings for pedestrians at Spring Garden Highway.
Meanwhile, Minister Boyce, in the interest of transparency and accountability talked about so much by your government, please tell us how much in “campaign donations” was contributed to you and the DLP in the last five years by property developers. We the people would like to look at each development to see how the government protected the safety of pedestrians.