Sheldon Williams, Gleaner Writer
Major changes to the regulation of traffic in Half-Way Tree come into effect today. These are being implemented at the Constant Spring Road/South Odeon Avenue and Constant Spring Road/Hope Road intersections.
Manager of communication and customer services at the National Works Agency, Stephen Shaw, told Automotives that the modifications had been under consideration for some time.
"We decided to implement it because of the number of complaints we have been getting. It's an area that we have been looking at for some time and we have been working with the different parties - the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, the National Road Safety Council, the Road Safety Unit and the police - to try and find a solution that we thought would be workable for all concerned," Shaw said. "That is what we have come up with based on meetings and discussions we had on the particular subject."
Shaw said the most prominent complaints come from disagreements between motorists and pedestrians about the right of away. There are also growing concerns from visually impaired pedestrians.
"What was happening is that the way how the system is in Half-Way Tree motorists are supposed to yield for pedestrians to move across the road at Hope Road and Constant Spring Road, so too at Constant Spring to Suthermere Road. What you find happening now is that they're not yielding to allow pedestrians to get across the road, so you find conflict between pedestrians and motorists," Shaw explained.
He said further that "there are times when pedestrians inappropriately use the intersection because they dash across the roads when the lights are on green and put themselves and other persons at risk".
Shaw anticipates a fluent transition to the adjustments, but admitted that he was concerned about how quickly pedestrians would conform. "The only concern we have really is how pedestrians will adapt, because they will be getting an exclusive pedestrian movement, just like motorists coming from Constant Spring Road getting exclusive movement at a particular time," he said.
The situation will be monitored for six months to determine their effectiveness in improving pedestrians' safety.