Changes considered for West Bay Road

Reducing the speed limit from 40 to
30 miles per hour, building pedestrian crossings and improving street lighting
are among the measures the Traffic Advisory Panel is considering to make West
Bay Road safer for pedestrians.

Following a traffic accident in
which an 60-year-old American tourist was critically injured while crossing the
road on foot by the Strand in April, the panel has been looking at long- and
short-term measures to make the road safer.

The advisory panel, made up of
members of the National Roads Authority, the Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service and the Ministry of District Administration, has a mandate of improving
traffic conditions in Cayman.

Among the steps being considered
for West Bay Road is reducing the speed limit to 30mph between Eastern Avenue
and 100 yards north of Raleigh Quay/Tiki Beach.

In November last year, the entire
length of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway became a 40 mile-per-hour zone when the
stretch of road from the Galleria Roundabout to Raleigh Quay, which had been 25
miles an hour since it opened September 2006, was changed to a 40-mile-per hour
limit. The highway runs generally parallel along much of West Bay Road.

Steps to reduce the speed limit along
West Bay Road have been voiced for years, with the former Minister of Works
Arden McLean announcing in early 2008 that it would be reduced to 25 miles an
hour.

To force traffic to slow down along
West Bay Road and make it safer for the pedestrians, the Traffic Advisory Panel
is also considering building a roundabout at the intersection of Raleigh Quay
and West Bay Road, to encourage motorists to use the Esterley Tibbetts Highway
(near the Old Holiday Inn and the New Tiki Beach).

The Panel is looking at building
pedestrian crossings in high traffic areas, such as the Strand Shopping Plaza,
and trimming vegetation to ensure a clear line of sight, allowing drivers to
see pedestrians on the sidewalk.

There are also discussions about
installing overhead flashing yellow lights, which can be activated by
pedestrians to allow them to safely cross the road and to improve overhead lighting.

Brian Tomlinson, managing director
of the National Roads Authority, said members were aware that some of these improvements
may slow traffic, but would increase pedestrian safety, especially along West
Bay Road.

“All the agencies involved in TAP
are committed to the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic on our
roads; we will continue to work towards improvements,” he said in a press
release.

According to police statistics,
there have been four road traffic accidents involving pedestrians since
December last year – one near Coconut Joe’s on 2 December, another by Decker’s
Restaurant on 20 December, one near Jet Night Club on 27 February and the one
involving the American tourist by the Strand on 19 April.

Police said there were no
pedestrian-related accidents on West Bay Road between January 2008 and the end
of November 2009.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Owning property on WB Road it is obvious that changes are needed. There are sections where the speed, lack of control devices, no or small shoulders, no sidewalks, and oh did I mention SPEED! cause a situation that is just waiting for a tragedy.

    The best thing to do is get sidewalks built with cross walks that are controlled by stop lights. This would get people to cross at a predictable location and it would slow down drivers around pedestrians.

    Anything would be better than the risks we are taking now.

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  2. I live on the Central Coast of Calif,instead of reducing speed limits in town,our various Traffic departments have installed " Lighted Cross Walks"
    A pedestrain approaches the crosswalk, pushes a button and the crosswalk lightsup, alerting traffic from both directions,,,works great

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