Pedestrians and Crossings

July 21st, 2014

On my daily commute to and from downtown Kingston, Jamaica, I have noticed some things about many pedestrian crossings and the crossing of pedestrians.  It often appears that the Jamaican pedestrian is of the opinion that motorists have eyes that provide 360 degree vision. They cross anywhere, anytime and anyhow. What is a amazing is that despite the power of pressing a button and halting traffic many prefer to cross only a few meters away from the crossing with the light still on green or yellow. The most blatant example of this I regularly see is repeated refusal of visitors and workers of the Ministry of Finance and Planning on Heroes Circle to use the pedestrian crossing.

I am alarmed many a times when a pedestrian will sudden leave the sidewalk, as if in a trance, and suddenly proceed to cross without looking left, right and then left again.  Then there are those who seek to cross behind buses and other large vehicles, mysteriously appearing out of nowhere much to annoyance and fright of motorists. Then there is the annoying feature of the pedestrian that chooses to take up position at the crossing with no intention to cross. There are those that once they have stepped on the pedestrian crossing attempt to cross without waiting to be seen or ensuring approaching vehicles have come to halt.

The National Road Safety Council of Jamaica needs to look at an educational program targeting pedestrians. Are students no longer taught safety tips in the primary schools? Jamaicans seem to have a bad habit of not using the pedestrian crossing and when they use it many times they do so improperly.

Pedestrian Crossing in Half-Way Tree, Kingston Jamaica

An aerial look of the section of Half-Way Tree where traffic changes will be implemented today.-Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

The crossing

The pedestrian crossings themselves are poorly maintained, with lines hardly visible.  We have to give thanks in many cases for the Labour Day activities that often restore the hidden crossings that alert motorist to their existence. At night the lack of lights or reflective posts at the crossings is another issue. Given the limit resources available to the National Works Agency(NWA) and parish councils, it appears crossings are last on the to-do list if not crossed off.

It is time the authorities fix the crossings and the pedestrians fixing their crossing behaviours and avoid crossing the motorists.

Then there are the wardens who often times are very polite and pleasant and it’s a joy to watch them carry out their duties. However I have seen one who seemed to have had a spirit or one too many and was stumbling in the road to help a child cross. I hope my assessment of the situation was wrong.

In Jamaica today, there are enough crosses to bear to have to add crossings to the list.  However,  what is sure is that pedestrian crossings and the attitude of pedestrians crossing the roads of Jamaica needs revisited

What’s your view? Have your say.


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One Response to “Pedestrians and Crossings”

  1. Jeffery Sinclair says:

    Surprised we don’t have more pedestrians deaths.

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