'A positive move'
Negril residents welcome rumble strips, call for more in other areasThursday, August 19, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
NEGRIL, Westmoreland - The National Works Agency (NWA) is currently assessing the effectiveness of the rumble strips it had installed on sections of the Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril recently, as part of efforts to reduce motor vehicle accidents, even as calls grow for the devices to be installed in other areas of the resort town.
The strips were installed over four days starting on July 18. They run from the boulevard near the Negril square and end in the vicinity of Sandals Negril.
“We have done the traffic calming measures and we are assessing to see how much it has achieved its purpose,” Janel Ricketts, NWA's community relations officer for the Western Region told the Jamaica Observer West on Tuesday.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Westmoreland Western Morland Wilson said the review from the public and other stakeholders, including the police, has been good. He said people are now calling for a similar measure to be implemented on the Nampriel and West End roadway, also in the resort town.
“I have gotten so many commendations that people are now requesting them to be installed on Nampriel Road and West End because West End does have areas where people speed. So, they are not only effective, you have persons now requesting them to be installed in other areas which means that the community by and large are welcoming the rumble strips. So, it is a positive move,” expressed Wilson.
Negril resident Elaine Allen Bradley concurred with Wilson. She said speeding on the winding West End road is a chronic problem. Allen Bradley said strips could be placed on sections of that roadway, especially areas without corners.
“The rumble strips are effective and we need more,” stressed Allen Bradley.
Ricketts said while she is not able to speak to the implementation of the strips elsewhere, there is a general issue of speeding in Negril.
“I can't speak to that right now, but I know we have a problem with speeding, generally, along these corridors and we evaluate on a case-by-case basis to see what is the best measure to have there,” stated Ricketts.
But, despite the good review, some road users are said to be complaining about the installation of the strips on the boulevard.
Wilson said those road users are of the view that the rumble strips have resulted in them “applying frequent brakes”.
“People are complaining that [a journey] which would take five minutes is now taking 10 minutes, but the idea is that they were speeding that is why it took five minutes,” said the MP.
Allen Bradley pointed out that motorists are now driving on sections of the shared-use path as a means of avoiding the rumble strips.
“They are now driving on it. Motorised vehicles are now on the shared-use pathway — a multi-use walkway that facilitates walking, cycling, skating, and wheelchairs only — now because they don't want to go on the rumble strips. So now we will have to think of devising something to put there now,” stated Allen Bradley.
In February the Observer West had reported that following a reported surge in road accidents on the Norman Manley Boulevard, which many attributed to the erection of concrete medians in the middle of the road almost a decade ago in a bid to curtail speeding, there was an outcry from the Negril community, including hoteliers for them to be removed.
“One suggestion is to totally remove these medians. Another recommendation is to rehabilitate them and put in more signs. But, if we are going to go that route they will have to be maintained and history has taught us that maintenance of these medians is not very effective. So there is also a consideration of putting in some kind of speed controllers such as strips that could possibly ease the flow of traffic on the boulevard,” stated Wilson.
The unsightly concrete medians are now in a state of disrepair.
Wilson told the Observer West on Tuesday that “what would happen is that NWA would install the rumble strips, do their assessment, and once the assessment is done, at that point they would determine whether to modify the rumble strips and remove the medians. The idea is that they would not just remove the medians upon the installation of the rumble strips because they were not aware if the rumble strips would work.”
Ricketts said a decision is yet to be made about the fate of the medians.
Meanwhile, Wilson is calling on motorists to utilise the road with care.
“I am calling for persons to use the road more responsibly. We have now installed traffic-calming measures on the boulevard and the idea is to slow the traffic and to allow all road users to be comfortable on the road, which includes pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicycles to be comfortable using the boulevard. So, I would just implore all road users to observe the road code,” he urged.
“The roadway is a 50-kilometre speed limit zone and so if persons adhere to the road code accidents could be reduced. You won't have any major accidents once you are observing the road code, but we find that persons are not adhering to the road code.”
According to the Westmoreland police, between January 1 and installation of the rumble strips in July, there were 17 motor vehicle accidents in the Negril area.
After the strips were installed, however, there have been two “minor motor vehicle accidents”.
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