West Bay Road speed limit to drop in September

A plan to change speeds along Cayman

A planned speed limit reduction along Cayman’s main tourism thoroughfare is going ahead, though it has been pushed back a few months, government officials confirmed. 

National Roads Authority managers said Monday that none of the speed limit changes proposed after public consultation last year have taken effect, including one that would lower the limits along West Bay Road between Bay Town Plaza and the old RBS Coutts building near Public Beach to 30 miles per hour. 

The limit along that stretch of road is now 40 mph. 

“In regards to the speed limit change, it is [in] the hands of the ministry at the moment,” the National Roads Authority’s Marion Pandohie said. 

Officials in the Ministry of Planning said they hoped to put the speed changes into effect by mid-September and were attempting to coordinate the changes with some other public works, including road construction in several areas of George Town district. 

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts announced in April that speed changes on West Bay Road would take effect in May, along with the installation of additional crosswalks on the busy street where most of Cayman’s major seaside hotels are located. 

There are now four crosswalks with flashers installed along the road, including outside the Strand shopping center, the Westin hotel, the Marriott Beach Resort and the Royal Palms Beach Club. 

Minister Tibbetts’s announcement in April came less than two weeks after the April 6 accident on West Bay Road that left a teenage tourist in critical condition. Harrison Zierenberg, now 17, was struck by a minivan, and underwent extensive surgery at the Cayman Islands Hospital and additional surgeries back home in the U.S., for extensive head injuries. 

His family, from the Richmond, Virginia suburb of Midlothian, told the local news media that Harrison would require extensive recovery, but that he had managed to survive a catastrophic injury. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said no charges have been filed in connection with the April 6 accident as of last week. 

“I want to … wish God’s blessings on the young man that was injured in the accident,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “We wish him a full and speedy recovery.” 

Plans to change speed limits on a number of local roads were placed before Cabinet in late February or early March 2014. Proposals to lower the speed limits and install crosswalks on West Bay Road along the Seven Mile Beach corridor date back to the first People’s Progressive Movement administration of 2005-2009. 

In addition to changing the speed limit and installing more crosswalks, Mr. Tibbetts said other improvements would be coming shortly for West Bay Road. 

“[The safety measures will] prevent the middle lane from being used to overtake,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “Those [who] are in a hurry can use the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.” 

Speed limit changes proposed as part of a National Roads Authority review in late 2013 included setting the speed limit on Frank Sound Road at 30 mph between Bodden Town Road and Botanic Road. That route’s limit is currently set at 50 mph. 

On North Sound Road, the speed limit of 25 mph is set to increase to 30 mph between the Butterfield roundabout and Shedden Road. 

One of the new crosswalks on West Bay Road connects the Westin Resort to Governors Square shopping center. - Photo: Jewel Levy

One of the new crosswalks on West Bay Road connects the Westin Resort to Governors Square shopping center. – Photo: Jewel Levy
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  1. I wonder if it will be enforced.

    We have many good laws here. Sadly many are ignored or never put into effect.

    Anyone remember the law requiring taxis to have electronic meters? Then someone persuaded the government that a printed list qualifies as an electronic meter.
    And even that list is not taped to the back of the front seats where passengers could see it.

    Then there are the marine laws. Mostly ignored while conch disappears from the North Sound and fish are taken off Barkers.

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  2. What I don’t understand is why some get paid for just attempting to do their jobs or hoping it gets done?..they HOPED to put speed changes into effect…ATTEMPTING to coordinate changes. Why won’t they just coordinate and get things done?

    Fake solicitude won’t make this young man whole again. His life path has been changed forever.

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  3. Then Mr Linton, I wonder what the Islands should be called, lawless,or land of laws, or unenforceable land. Then let’s ask the question why do the politicians spend so much time making these laws and not putting them in effect? Could it be it be possible just for the next election campaign "see what I/we did".

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  4. It is beyond comprehension WHY the speed limits have not been put in effect on the West Bay Road LONG before now! If there were a 25 mph limit (strongly enforced) on those sections of WB Road, drivers would need to comply and far fewer life-changing accidents and deaths due to drivers texting, smoking, talking on cells, drinking and driving would occur. A stitch in time still saves 9, but Caymanians are in a hurry to get places fast. In the end, we are all going to the same place. Take it easy and take it slow (one of my favourite Cayman Brac maxims)!

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  5. The 30 limit for West Bay Road is of course right to do.I would like to see on the Bypass a change to 50 instead of the current 40. Why should a four lane highway be limited like that. Going faster there would not endanger anybody, the contrary.

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  6. This really is THE ABSURD, in capital letters, that they really want tourist’s money, but do nothing to provide THE basic security for them, such as an opportunity to simply cross a street where most of Cayman’s major seaside hotels are located, without a fear for their lives. Just think about it for a moment. In every single seaside resort I have visited so far, road safety is a number one priority. Speed bumps, flashing lights, generous bike paths,significant speed reduction, crosswalks on streets that go along major seaside hotels. It is assumed in Hawaii for example, that tourists are always gawking, and always will, therefore local authorities make everything possible to eliminate or mitigate the risks of running a tourist over. You can cross a street in Waikiki pretty much with your eyes closed and you won’t be run over by a car because local drivers keep their eyes open for you. I am not saying here that this is a sensible thing to do, what I am saying is that tourists will be tourists, they are on vacation,watch out for them, they are valuable, therefore keep them alive.
    And if you do care, deliver what you announce. On time.
    In summary, this is not negligence, this is a willful disregard of the pedestrian safety.

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  7. Yes Ms Bell yes, and I think that the politicians/government gives more priority to revenues than safety of the people/tourist, this is why you see it takes so long before safety measures are put in place, but development can be done right away, and property not giving up property for adequate side walks, which then becomes public property, so then can’t be sold or no revenue gains. It is sad and stupid that safety measures can’t be taken in consideration when planning and making laws, that’s why you see it in other countries, but not in Cayman Islands.

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