Carifesta Avenue roundabout could turn out to be a place of total chaos

Dear Editor,

 In a poll done a few years ago more than 60% of Guyanese don’t have any confidence in the court system. The breakdown of the rule of law is everywhere, you can see it clearly on the roads which is making a bad traffic situation worse. People block intersections, bore lines at traffic signals causing traffic congestion at the lights, stop wherever they want. The decent drivers are very tentative because of the bullyism happening on the road, that they don’t trust others to obey the lights or signs when there are any that is, so they move off very slowly when they finally see the green. 

In fact if the light is still red with a count of 3 or 4 still to go, people are blowing on you to start driving, i.e. they’re blowing on you to break the law. On most main roads people are boring into the main stream of traffic from side roads almost into the centre of the road and you have to dodge between them further delaying traffic, all of this insecurity further interferes with the flow of traffic. People move off from traffic lights which are set at 10-15 seconds in the most insecure, tentative and therefore slow manner,  and sometimes only two or three cars get through before the light turns red again adding to the frustration and road anger. To make things much worse we have to drive over an excessive amount of speed bumps almost every corner now, and our roads are decorated with the worst potholes of anywhere in the world. People make U turns on main highways, mini buses do not stop at the designated places marked on the roads. All of this means that the police have completely lost the capacity to enforce our traffic laws.

Roundabouts are really a great idea and in many of the small cities in the US they are introducing them in preference to traffic lights. Since 2008 I began seeing them emerging in small towns close to Miami, but we must be aware that they were utilising them not at major intersections but more on side streets within small towns or villages. For it to work everyone has to be disciplined and respect the rights of those already in the circle and yield to whoever is in the circle first. Yield? Discipline?  I am afraid that discipline and yield are not in the vocabulary of most of our citizens who drive.

So, the roundabout at Carifesta Avenue could very well turn out to be a place of total chaos, given that we have people in this country who are totally unprepared to be reasonable on our roads. I saw that there was a policeman situated there all day on 6/6/2018.  The only thing I see which is probably workable is that the

traffic going West and East won’t clash too much since hardly anyone will come into the circle from the north, but if you are coming from Carifesta Avenue and travelling East to the East Coast highway you should stay in the left [outside] lane since the right lane keeps turning to Vlissengen Road. We have built this very expensive circle and we have done what we have always done, we have failed to put up signs of direction on how to use it properly, so let’s first see how the cars coming from the south on Vlissingen road make out in this new system before we rush off not understanding our limitations and build more.

I usually like to offer suggestions when I criticize, since I am one person who sacrificed a lot to put this government in power, so if I criticize them I have earned that right. In Trinidad some years ago when they also abandoned their train running from Port of Spain, East to the far end of the island, they converted the trainline embankment to a road and only Mini Buses [Maxi Taxis] and certain executive persons and diplomats can drive on it, and frankly you can police it better, since all of the usual subjects of chaos are on one road, and I have found it to be far less of a mad house in Trinidad than here on the East Coast with the Mini Buses, so why don’t we take that example and convert the embankment where our old train line used to be, and use that to take care of some of the lawlessness happening on the East Coast highway in the morning. Of course, making the East Coast road for Mini Buses and the embankment for private vehicles is also an option. But the Trinidad experience seems to be that separating them has proved to be very successful.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Vieira