Countdown begins for promised Spring Garden Highway pedestrian access

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.)

Transport Minister John Boyce

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.

17 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment, Health, Politics, Real Estate

17 responses to “Countdown begins for promised Spring Garden Highway pedestrian access

  1. Me

    what bothers me most is a pedestrian crossing on a highway – cars travelling at speeds that makes it difficult for drivers to stop on seeing a pedesstrial trying to cross! What they need are traffic lights AND pedestrian crossings! There is no where in Barbados for speeds over 45 km.

  2. You’re so right about the speed limit, Me.
    Why the heck do you have to race at breakneck speed, just to have to wait in a traffic line at Fontabelle or any other road leading to the city.
    The roads were not built for racing but for getting you “safely” from point A to point B. If you’re worried about getting there in time……..leave earlier.

  3. Weston

    A pedestrian bridge is surely the best solution. An underpass will be liable to flooding and might not be safe at night while a pedestrian crossing will stop traffic on a busy highway and is still dangerous, particularly after dark.

  4. What will they think of next

    I agree with you “Me”. Pedestrian controlled traffic lights like the kind outside of St. Michaels School and pedestrian crossings.

    BTW I am in that photo on the left, my wife is next to me and my daughter is next to my wife. I was there the Sunday that accident took place, it was aweful.

  5. There is no where in Barbados for speeds over 45 km.

    Wow…that’s quite a statement

    Nowhere on this island can handle speeds over 45 km. (per hour,I presume) ??

    So what on earth is the legal speed limit doing
    all that way up hi in the air
    nearly at the speed of light = 60 k.p.h. ??

    You guys are so funny!!

  6. Night driving is simply PERILOUS!

    Road markings in Barbados are clearly all about diurnal driving conditions.

    Considerations re. nocturnal driving conditions
    (when white markings are MOST helpful)
    do not obtain: sorry!

    Driving at night on this island is downright perilous.

    VERY few markings along the centre-line to help us each hold his side of the road.

    Silly concrete islands at intersection, serving no real purpose,
    with colonial-style black and white markings now turned to dark-grey and light-grey by spatter
    ..should be painted WHITE ALL OVER
    for the purpose of EASY VISIBILITY..

    but that would mean PAINT, and we doan like paint
    coz it costs so much!

    Easier to leff it jes’ soah.. en who crash CRASH!
    Dat is dem problem.
    Dum wud learn to stan hoam at night, you know?

  7. bajandave

    Traffic lights and a crossing are a joke on a road with an 80 kph speed limit that is often exceeded. If the original engineers had thought about it, an underpass should have been part of the original design (it’d be too impractical to install that now). A footbridge located opposite the beach is the best bet and shouldn’t take too long to build. Now we’ll just have to enforce the jaywalking laws (if we have any) to ensure people actually use it. Why is it that we are still talking about this nearly 30 years after the road was built?

  8. what will they think of next

    Bajandave if you have not noticed citizens are still dying needlessly on this stretch of road. If you think that traffic lights are useless on this highspeed road then put down sleeping policemen that would cure reckless drivers.

  9. YB

    LOL. doesn’t matter what you put people will still cross where it is convenient for them and as slowly as they feel.

  10. Mathilde

    nope sorry, dont agree with traffic lights and zebra crossings, a bridge would be better and safer, and if you cant be bothered to use it then dont cuss if a driver clips your hip. high ways are for DRIVING not strolling along lacksadaisically. and it already takes me an hour to get from my house to my office so if youre going to pull down the speed limit to grandaddy speed then for God’s sake build a subway system or invent some flying cars. 60 kph is NOT fast. You want to be worried about the numnuts that race at 180kph on a night, I hear them every weekend, for THAT kind of thing there should be speed cameras…. and while we’re at it, what the heck is up with cyclists taking up an entire lane at RUSH HOUR. If you’re riding for fun why the frilly heck are you doing it at such a dangerous time???? To be as annoying as possible??

    We dont have bike paths in Barbados but who in God’s name thought it would be a good idea to allow a HIGHWAY to be used as a recreational path???? 10 years ago a policeman told me cyclists weren’t allowed on the highway, what happened to that rule?? This is idiocy that would never be allowed in any sensible country with pretentious of First World order. The whole topic of infrastructure in this island is a mess that does NOT work.

    An Im sorry but lowering speed limits to 80 years gone will not help, roads were built for a reason and its not for walking, thats what sidewalks are for and the Govt should try to ensure that ONLY motor vehicles ever go on the roads by providing alternate means for the rest.

  11. nicksti

    An overpass does not make sense on the SGH. It is a route for goods to be delivered into and out of town. I can see all the people opting to cross the road in the traditional manner as opposed to taking these designated crossing paths.

    Good enough reason not to provide proper access? No. But there are quite a few Bajans that jaywalk; just look at town!

  12. What will they think of next

    I want to hear you on this again on this issue when one of your relatives is killed on this same Spring Garden Road, Mathilde.

  13. Maaaaan...

    YB hit the nail entirely on the head!

    WE WILL NOT BE CHANGED!

  14. From out of the mouths of babes..

    I once asked my dau.
    “WHY won’t Bajans use the sidewalk provided?

    Her quiet answer from the back seat was simply..
    ” Because there are no sidewalks in Africa, Daddy”

    Well, now!

  15. The Watcher

    So we don’t have another traffic nightmare like the ones we love to create and maintain( Wildey being a prime example), let’s make this a walkover and not stop-lights or another really-brain-dead, “a-monkey-could-have-come-up-with-it” sort of solution.

  16. Mathilde

    What will they think of next

    I was just saying IF the Government were to actually provide a SAFE way to cross and someone STILL decided to play Russian roulette and run across the highway instead of using the safe route then thats just STUPID. Right now people have no choice and THAT is sad and criminally negligent, but IF lo and behold someone actually got off their pooch and built a safe crossing whether underground or overhead and people ignored it and continued to risk their lives then thats a different matter altogether.

  17. Pingback: Slaughter continues: Road Fatalities up 61% over 2010! | Barbados Free Press