Fri | Sep 18, 2020

Pedestrian crossing death traps

Published:Saturday | September 14, 2019 | 12:18 AM


In an article published in The Gleaner on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, titled ‘A public embarrassment – NWA boss blames pedestrian crossing foul-up on contractor’, E. G. Hunter describes the matter of a Jersey barrier running through a pedestrian crossing as a visual public embarrassment and goes on to state that “it’s not something calamitous”.

I shudder to think how it is possible for someone, anyone, let alone the head of the National Works Agency, to see this as simply an aesthetic issue.

There are many motorists on our roads who care very little about pedestrians. What poses a threat to a pedestrian may never be seen as such through the eyes of a motorist – whether it is simply the angle from which he/she sees or a lack of care for our fellow human beings. For those of us who are regular pedestrians, what may be termed as aesthetically unappealing to you, Mr Hunter, is a calamity for us.

I would like to shed light on some other inconsiderate and unsafe systems/infrastructure on our relatively newly constructed roads in the Kingston area. No need to throw blame yet again.

I will speak only of a stretch of Marcus Garvey Drive – from Chesterfield Drive to Petrojam Limited (Gate 5). This overall distance of approximately 2.4km (2,400m) would be equal to roughly six laps around a typical 400m track.

1. Along this 2.4km stretch, there are a total of four pedestrian ­crossings. This strip has numerous business places along it.

2. Crossing #1 (in the vicinity of Tinson Pen Aerodrome): The pedestrian crossing is an overhead platform, which is ideal for this multilane road. More of these should be constructed along the strip.

3. Crossing #2 (located at Fourth Avenue intersection): The crossing is approximately 1.4km (1,400m) away. This would equate to about three and a half laps around said track. This 1.4km strip has a Jersey barrier running the entire length. Pedestrians can be seen jumping over these daily.

4. Crossing #3 (located at East Avenue intersection): The ­crossing is approximately 450m from Crossing #2.

5. Crossing #4 (located at Petrojam’s Gate 5 entrance/exit): The final pedestrian crossing I will make mention of is approximately 105m away from Crossing #3, and as all other crossings I’ve mentioned (except the overhead), it has an indicator screen that tells pedestrians when it is safe for them to cross. However, when this indicator signals “‘Safe to Cross’, the traffic light that signals persons exiting Petrojam Limited Gate 5 is also signalling motorists that it is ‘Safe to Drive’. This results in two sets of road users getting the go-ahead to collide.

Sometimes it is important for us to see through the eyes of ­others – just so our work can be more inclusive and far-reaching. Let us see the bigger picture and work on improving conditions not for some, but for all.