Editorial for October 8: More than road works needed

Road works on Elgin Avenue are
making the morning and evening commutes to and from George Town slower than
usual for many people. Although this causes inconvenience, the road works are
needed.

One reason they are needed is to address
the regular flooding that occurs in front of Cricket Square and the
yet-occupied Walkers Building.  This has
been a source of irritation and hazard for many years now and addressing the
problem is long overdue.  Hopefully, the
raising of the road, along with creating a series of highs and lows and
drilling more drain wells will fix the problem.

Beyond that, Elgin Avenue is a key
road through George Town that is already quite busy.  When the new Government Office Accommodation
Building opens early next year, and when the Walkers Building is eventually
occupied, the traffic on Elgin Avenue is only going to get worse. In addition,
there are now plans to renovate the Glass House instead of razing it, and there
will eventually be another office building constructed at Cricket Square.  All of this has the potential to create
gridlock along Elgin Avenue when added to the major buildings that are already
there.

Obviously, just widening the road
will not be the final solution. At some point, the National Roads Authority is
also going to have to create other outlets for traffic. There are plans to
connect Elgin Avenue directly with Smith Road and to Shedden Road.  Of course, that will create more traffic on
all of those roads. The only way the higher concentration of buildings along
Elgin Avenue won’t create increasing traffic problems is if alternative
solutions are employed. Former Cabinet Minister Arden McLean spoke of a
park-and-ride bus service to an off-site parking facility for government
employees.  We don’t see that working
here.  Traffic would also be lessened if
more people used public transportation. 
But we don’t see that happening here either. Perhaps the only
alternative solution that would work is flex hours, where the government and
various businesses allow their employees to work staggered shifts, with some
starting earlier and getting off earlier, and some starting later and getting
off later.  This has worked in other
places and there’s no reason it can’t work here.

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