By Staff Writer
The way things are going - or not going - traffic at the notorious Hurley’s Roundabout will soon grind to halt, quite literally, unless something radical is done before the already over-congested intersection becomes deadlocked in gridlock.
It’s arguable that the modelling at the time of construction of the otherwise well-intentioned roundabout, could not have anticipated the rapid expansion of commercial and residential developments plus the explosion of traffic at that critical junction.
The fact is, we are at a critical juncture regarding the future of Hurley’s Roundabout...and in Cayman’s growth.
These new developments will attract their own traffic flow - a sign of their success - but will unwittingly contribute to the strangulating gridlock. A victim of their own success?
Hurley's Roundabout has become a metaphor for the challenges facing Cayman as it navigates its future development strategy and trajectory.
Not only is it a hurdle for the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the traffic police, it’s equally a nightmare for the drivers who hardly have any alternative but to be the hapless victims of its almost permanent state of gridlock.
Realistic long-term (very long term) planning is urgently required for the future of Hurley’s and the myriad other ‘unmerry-go-round’ roundabouts that are popping up like polka dots - or pockmarks - on the Cayman landscape.
More is not always better. In the case of Cayman, more simply seems to attract more of the same.
Despite the lofty ideals espoused again in the most recent election campaign, restricting car imports will be a very hard sell, even with very restrictive import duties. Striking the balance between the car as a transport necessity and a status symbol while selling the concept of quality public transportation is easier said than done.
It calls for a change of mindset and an aspirational readjustment. Not easy considering the modern norms by which aspiration is perceived. And for good measure, we could toss in the pandemic-induced reality of ‘social distancing’.
But even before we get too bogged down in the social science theory of the car as a status symbol in a society that’s an exemplar of all that good (and not-so-good) about capitalism, there’s a more pressing reality that’s demanding practical solutions now.
That too is rooted in capitalism. It’s the previously mentioned rapid expansion of residential and commercial developments surrounding Hurley’s Roundabout.
The question is; how to get around, over, or perhaps under it?
The solution lies somewhere in that spaghetti soup traffic conundrum.
One thing is certain though; a spaghetti junction is not the way out. Traffic will most probably choke in it.
Our concern is that at the current pace of patching up and adding and subtracting lanes, rapidly developing Cayman - pandemic notwithstanding - will be stuck in the slow traffic lane with gridlock dead ahead...and no place to park.