One of the things that make for a modern society is its orderliness or the way in which that society organises itself. Be it in commerce, Government, education, Judiciary and the whole gamut of things that makes everyday life worth living. Society must carry out itself in a well-ordered manner. One such way is in the proper layout and use of our roads and thoroughfares, it is an area that has captured my attention and concern over the years, having seen the situation at home as against those of other countries abroad. And it is against that backdrop that I make my contribution.
There is no doubt that Guyana is blessed with much land space and many roads to accommodate vehicular traffic, however, when we look at the way in which many of these roadways are being used there is much to be desired. I make specific mention of the too many stretches of open highways which in the Guyanese context are veritable racing tracks and zones of death, this madness on our roads has to stop.
Now, much of what I have expressed above comes about as a direct result of the way our roads are laid out. The present structural arrangement of our roads is designed to accommodate fast flowing and speeding motorists; hence the layout and general engineering work has to change to make it more modern and adaptable to safer and orderly road usage. It will also curb this nuisance death trap situation that now exists.
For starters, roundabouts ought to be installed at all nodal points and at all intersections where it is necessary and convenient. Roundabouts have a threefold effect in that they are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, hence head on collisions and other fatal crashes become non-existent. Slow speeds help vehicles to move into, around, and out of a roundabout with relative ease.
Secondly, roundabouts improve traffic flow and are better for the environment. Research shows that traffic flow improves after traditional intersections are converted to roundabouts. Less idling reduces vehicular emissions and fuel consumption.
Thirdly, roundabouts are safer for pedestrians who walk on sidewalks around the perimeter of the roundabout and cross paying attention to only one direction of traffic at a time. Crossing distances are relatively short while traffic speeds are lower than traditional intersections.
On this note, I further advocate that we build more sidewalks and footpaths, these are structures that would keep the pedestrian public out of the main pathway of moving traffic.
Here are some examples of places where roundabouts are of extreme importance.
1. The Eve Leary Intersection by The Police Training School.
2. The Pegasus Junction.
3. The Homestretch and Mandela Avenue Intersection.
4. The Vlissengen and South Road Intersection around the 1763 Monument Square.
5. The D’Urban Street and Mandela Avenue Intersection.
6. The Arapaima and Mandela Streets Junction, that is, by the East La Penitence Police Station.
7. On the East Coast of Demerara Road, (a) The University of Guyana Intersection. All other nodal points along the East Coast corridor.
8. All nodal points along the East Bank, West Coast and West Bank of Demerara.
9. At both ends of the Berbice Bridge, that is, at the intersection on the western end before you go across the bridge and at the Palmyra junction on the eastern end.
10. The Sheet Anchor intersection.
The above list is by no means exhaustive and to this end I call on the Ministry of Public Works’ Engineering team to make their own assessment and come up with their own list of futuristic developmental works.
As our nation heads into the future, one of the critical areas that we must pay strict attention to, is its infrastructure. It is a critical area when one considers how most of the large and more developed countries are fashioning theirs to meet the high demands of modern development. To this end, Guyana must take its place in this modern transformational arena.