Fri | Sep 18, 2020

Letter of the Day | Respect our pedestrians

Published:Thursday | September 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM


On my visit to Kingston on Tuesday, I was appalled by the means by which pedestrians crossed the six-lane Spanish Town roadway. What was even more frightening was that especially for the slow-moving elderly and the little infants travelling to and from school, I cringed as I witnessed how the vehicular traffic whisked by. As far as I am concerned, at least one disaster is waiting patiently to happen.

Let me hope that my concern is quite a bit premature, and that there are plans to deal with the safe traversing of commuters across these roadways. Adding to the difficulty of the pedestrians, too, are the approximately three-foot-high barriers that separate vehicular traffic moving in opposite directions. I wonder how women and the blind get across these barriers as I witnessed infants having to be hoisted over the barriers by older children, and in some cases, by adults.

These should not be the permanent modus operandi of our fellow Jamaicans or visitors even, who want to traverse from one side of their community to the next.

There are some areas in Portmore that have similar types of barriers, but allowances are made for pedestrians to walk across the roadways without having to compete with fast-moving vehicles, or having to climb over the barriers. In other areas, cross-walks as well as pedestrian stop lights are installed to assist those who are walking.

Sometimes we wonder why some citizens behave in particular ways and we fail to realise that the way we treat each other has a lot to do with their responses. How can we expect that our brothers and sisters, old and young, blind, wheeled, or sighted, live decently if we make life uncomfortable for them? I understand that the Barbican lay-by has some similar challenges. Can we use this opportunity to reverse an obvious error and instead practise TRUE RESPECT FOR ALL.

In this and future opportunities, let’s put into practice the quote from our pledge: ... the wisdom and courage of our minds, the strength and vigour of our bodies, in the service of our fellow citizens ... . Let’s elevate these and the other nice-sounding words that we have, from being ‘the things that we say at national gatherings’ to being ‘how we do it in Jamaica’.

We can do this. Yes, we can!

A. Dean M. Forsythe