Police should look again at arrangements for managing traffic outside private school at Montrose

Dear Editor,

A solution is long overdue to the daily traffic jam caused by the establishment of a school smack alongside a major traffic corridor. I refer to the Apex private school, located at Montrose on the East Coast of Demerara. In trying to ensure the safety of the children of the school, the Police Traffic Division has produced a situation where a greater number of Guyanese, including workers and other schoolchildren, are delayed on their way to Georgetown. The delay produces anxiety and impatience among those affected. The understandable desire to make up for lost time after passing the bottleneck at Montrose generates its own dangerous traffic dynamic on the rest of the journey to Georgetown.

The police must be commended for, at least, giving the situation some attention.  But they need to be less superficial in determining the causes of the problem and more creative in applying solutions.

The source of the problem seems to be that students cross the road multiple times during the peak of the morning rush hour. They are either trying to get to the snackettes on the northern side of the road or to meet up with their friends on both sides of the road. The presence of a traffic cop to ensure safe passage most likely encourages students to cross the road repeatedly for the slightest of reasons. The problem is that other road users pay the price.

It is revealing that at the end of school in the afternoons, while there is a much larger presence of Apex students on the road, vehicle traffic rarely jams up. For in the afternnoons, students are simply waiting to catch transportation to go home and have less reason to cross the road back and forth. Some may suggest that the absence of a traffic cop in the afternoons may also be a good thing.

Using a traffic cop in the mornings to adjudicate the peak movement of both vehicle traffic and Apex students has not worked. The most workable solution must look to de-synchronize the two traffic peaks. The easiest approach is to start the school much earlier (or possibly later) in the morning. An earlier start (say, 7 am) guarantees that no students are on the road during the vehicle rush hour. A later start may be less effective in ensuring this.

The police must engage the management of this private school to arrive at a lasting solution to this problem. On its part, the management of the school must show some understanding of, and sensitivity to, the situation. It would be disappointing if it does not. This is a problem that could be solved quickly.

Yours faithfully,
Sherwood Lowe

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