A lost opportunity?
The proponents of closing a portion of the West Bay Road have closed their eyes to the great opportunity that the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway brings. I have never been directly involved in the tourism sector of our economy but over many years I have read and heard from those involved that our tourism product needs to be improved. This ETH extension would allow a significant improvement in my opinion.
We have a development company that apparently intends to develop multiple hotel properties. It is claimed that these properties will need direct “beach frontage” to be successful.
Other persons have already pointed out that this frontage is in no way any guarantee of success, as seen by the struggles of existing hotels, that are on much, much better direct beach frontage. This company also does not wish to wait for some future government to possibly extend the ETH through their land, thereby creating even more opportunities for the developer.
(As a side note, query whether the land for the road corridor should actually cost a future government anything because often the increase in the adjacent land value will compensate for the appropriation of the corridor, making it a win-win process.)
Once the ETH extension is complete the volume of traffic on WBR will drop significantly. This is the start of the opportunity. The reduction of the maximum speed on WBR to 25mph, which has been talked about for quite some time, would be the next step and drop the traffic volume further. This would then create a zone along the entire western side of the island, where our very valuable tourism clientele can live/play/visit in a family friendly environment.
The existing WBR can gradually be converted into an “avenue” with more shade -- and colour -- providing flora (maybe in sections of the existing middle lane), and with pedestrian crossing zones with lights or even lower speeds in high volume areas, and traffic-calming measures to automatically enforce the maximum speed, such as bumps,
as well as cycle lanes.
This would enable our tourism visitors (has anyone really considered the situation from their perspective?) to move about from WB to GT, while visiting all of the included amenities, without ever travelling on a fast multi-lane road where most of them are driving on the “wrong” side. Another benefit would be to have a route conducive to older resident drivers who, quite sensibly, might prefer not to deal with faster multiple lanes of traffic and roundabouts. Plus it leaves the WB/GT alternate route, which was always envisioned since SMB development began, in case of problems on the new main route.
This change of WBR use will also promote some increase of development on the east side of WBR. Potential developers would likely be more willing to invest since the guests of their properties would only have to deal with limited, slow-moving traffic for beach access, as would the hotels by the current development company.
Additional (light-controlled) pedestrian crossings could be added as incentives for new properties as needed. Local companies would also be able to offer new/more outdoor/healthy activities, such as bicycle/segway/walking tours, and the tour/water sports/taxi/bus transport companies could move around collecting customers in a smoother and safer environment.
Close your eyes and imagine some future tourists renting electric bicycles to visit the Turtle Farm or go shopping from a WBR condo/ hotel or even a cruise ship via this scenic avenue without any fear of fast moving traffic.
We are told that the ETH extension is to compensate for the WBR closure. I do not really agree with that scenario as the trade is not fair (plus additional issues brought up by others). If the closure proceeds, the country will forever have closed the door to the opportunites I have described.
Vehicular traffic will always have to use the ETH to get around this closed section and the idea of speed reduction on WBR loses its effect, especially if other developments request that same agreement. The properties on the closed section(s) will benefit greatly, but that is a selfish proposal when compared to the longer term benefits for sustaining/improving our overall tourism product.
The persons who should be heard from on this subject are the owners of the hotel/condominium/tour/water sports/restaurant/retail businesses that operate in this area. Let us hear if they consider that this closure proposal has any benefits to their existing or future product offering. What do they see happening to their business activity (in the non-closure areas) over the next 20 years if this proposal continues?
Development benefits are greatly desired but should not be restricted in their focus. They should be for the long term benefit of the entire country.
- Condo for rent
- George Town Landfill to close early
- Grand Court Juror Report Date Changed
- Government Schools Begin Registration
- Church Street Closed to All Vehicular Traffic
- On Sales : Samsung Galaxy SIV / Apple iPhone 5 64GB
- Sales On: Apple iPhone 5 32GB, Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III / Galaxy S4 Buy 2 get 1 free
- Affordable South Side Home for Sale
- house for rent
- car for sale
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- I have to go to bed now, but
7 hours 18 min ago
- They care not a whit for the
7 hours 51 min ago
- That is the eternal problem
7 hours 55 min ago
- The reason why West Bayers
7 hours 57 min ago
- It doesn't look like Mac is
8 hours 4 min ago
- Not the brightest bunch are
8 hours 7 min ago
- That's my boy!!
8 hours 24 min ago
- cannot believe the amateur
8 hours 50 min ago
- Didn't learn a thing.......
8 hours 57 min ago
- This seemed like a
9 hours 25 min ago