Although I am just a mere nondescript citizen, I share similar concerns relating to those expressed by former Minister of Government Osbourne Bodden in his letter to the Compass, (“Resolving traffic gridlock,” Oct. 10). Before his election to office, he impressed me with many insightful contributions to Cayman newspapers. In fact, I remember saying to him once that he should run for office. It seems as if he has now resumed his old good habit. It is only a pity that he did not have those concerns when he was active in government, as the traffic problem has existed for many years.
The former minister’s list of possible solutions:
- Restrict the number of vehicles approved to be imported. I think that is an excellent idea. It is obvious that roads and places to park them are limited.
- Restrict the age of cars on the road to 10 years. My view is that it is not the age of the car that is the problem. If a car is over 10 years old, fully functional and meets all the government safety requirements, the car should not be a problem. What needs to happen is the existing testing standards for allowing vehicles to be on the roads need strengthening. In addition, more stringent monitoring and fines for non-compliance by the police should be a priority.
- Restrict number of cars per household to two. That is an idea worth pursuing. However, attention should be directed to apartment complexes with numerous individuals occupying each unit, many owning cars. Parking becomes a problem, resulting in cars being parked unsafely on the roads, sometimes blocking entrances to private homes. Landlords should be compelled to have adequate parking stalls or tenants without cars.
- Persons on work permits should not own cars but use public transportation. Such a restriction would be draconian. I suggest that the creation of a workable and reliable public transportation system should be the first step before even considering this idea.
- Build vehicle depots. Another excellent idea, but a plan and discussion around creating a public transportation system has to be worked on first, and then implemented. Vehicle depots will be a part of that plan.
- Incentives, e.g. license fee reduction for carpoolers and establishing car pool lanes. It is difficult to see how those could be implemented cost-effectively given limited resources. My humble opinion is to first educate drivers on the proper use of roads, and then be firm with prosecution for infringements. An example is the apparent ignorance of the correct way to use a two-lane road by using the middle lane as the passing faster lane. In my daily drive to and from Bodden Town I am hampered, slowed and frustrated by 99 percent of all large vehicles immediately moving over to the middle lane. Driving abreast of vehicles properly using the inside lane literally blocks the road and invites the taking of risks to overtake, road rage, as well as overall slowing the traffic flow.
- Employers in George Town should offer flex time. Excellent idea, but why limit it to George Town?
- Decentralize services from George Town. Another great idea, but I think more bang for the buck would be gained from devoting more effort and resources to enabling more transactions to be done online, at least initially.
The objective of maintaining and increasing the quality of life of all citizens, residents and visitors is fully supported. I encourage the former minister to not only continue writing, but to raise his concerns directly to the “powers that be,” as he is eloquent and has direct access to all the players.
Hopefully this will not just create more interest and talk, but start some action toward finding solutions. Quality of life in Cayman should not be allowed to slip!
Leland (Lee) Maragh