Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vehicle Centric-Towns and Communities

If one wants to walk from AL Thompson's Home Center to Parker's you have to cross the Butterfield round-about.

There is no safe way for me to do so. I and all pedestrians have to risk crossing four lanes of traffic to get to the East side of the round-about, and then after walking North on North Sound Road one have to cross another two lanes to get to Parker's.

Did I mention that there are no Pedestrian Crossings anywhere on the route? Trying to bicycle this route would e even more dangerous.

We need Cycle Lanes and Pedestrian Crossings, or perhaps pedestrian over passes. The few cycle lanes that we do have are not properly maintained and end up being covered with gravel and debris. The outcome of this is that bicyclists ride on the left of the vehicle lane which can be dangerous. Although the Cayman Islands Government has a street sweeping machine it is rarely used. Furthermore, to protect cyclists there would ideally be a curb separating the cycle lane from the vehicle lane.

A few days ago a visitor, trying to cross the street at Owen Roberts International Airport was struck, allegedly by a taxi and is, according to the press, was in intensive care at the George Town Hospital. https://goo.gl/szAqQV The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, reported that 62-year-old Vary Jones Leslie had succumbed to her injuries. She was using the cross walk when she was struck.

Livable Streets https://goo.gl/qto9Ku
People have always lived on streets. Our houses in the Cayman Islands traditionally faced the streets. They have been the places where children first learned about the world, where neighbors met and the social centers of towns and cities.
Paris is fighting pollution and vehicular mayhem, perhaps having realized the their mistake. The city will ban diesel cars and double the number of bike lanes.
When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all.

Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill designed a new residential area for the Chinese city of Chendu.The layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes.
While Chengdu won't completely ban cars, only half the roads in the 80,000-person city will allow vehicles. The firm originally planned to make this happen by 2020, but zoning issues are delaying the deadline. https://goo.gl/fFavMf

Given that the Cayman Islands is one of the highest emitters per capita of carbon dioxide globally, at 9.2 tonnes per capita https://goo.gl/Bf3Ox, it would behoove us, from an environmental point-of-view, as well from a health perspective, to encourage our residents to utilize human powered transport, walking, bicycles as well as low-carbon devices like the Segway transporter.

However, for this to happen we will need designated lanes to separate walkers, cyclists and Segway operators from cars and trucks. To ensure that bicyclists use these lanes the lanes will have to be maintained and swept of debris on a regular basis. I have, unfortunately noticed, on those of our roads that do have bike lanes, riders are forced to ride on the extreme edge of the lane, almost in the vehicle lane, due to there being a build up of gravel and debris from not being maintained.

Bermuda, our colonial neighbor to the north has long striven to curb traffic by limiting the size and quantity of motor vehicles allowed onto the island. Bermuda is smaller than Grand Cayman, having only 23 square miles of land.