Monday 9th January, 2006

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How we can ease Diego traffic

This is an open letter to Ministers Valley, Rowley and Imbert, all of whom represent constituents affected by the Diego Martin traffic:

Having spent about one-and-a-half hours in traffic last Tuesday, trying to get into Diego Martin, I have to express my frustrations about your combined lack of attention to a very simple problem that affects the lives of more than 1,000 of your constituents every day.

From about 4.30 pm, the traffic into both Diego Martin and the western peninsula backs up on all access points. The Foreshore backs up into Wrightson Road, Western Main Road backs up to Roxy roundabout and Mucurapo Road also goes into Woodbrook.

The reasons for this are several:

1.The police at Four Roads and St James are unaware that this problem occurs every afternoon. There are almost never any officers on the roads, and accordingly, the taxis and maxi-taxis take the inside verge for a third lane, further adding to the bottleneck.

2. The Four Roads junction, however, is the single largest contributing factor:

* Traffic entering and exiting the mall.

* Taxis stopping in the road in front of the mall (in front of the police station who also do not see this).

* The Four Roads traffic light.

* Traffic entering from the western side of the Four Roads junction (St Finbar’s side).

* Taxis also stopping at the junction to offload and pick up passengers.

* Traffic exiting the NP station at Four Roads, and also traffic patronising the bakery and the car parts store.

All in all, it can be accurately summarised that the usual daily traffic jam into the entire western peninsula is caused substantially by the Four Roads junction.

Now what can we do about it?

There are several steps that can be taken immediately that will offer immediate relief to this problem namely:

* Ensure that there is at least one police officer positioned on the Foreshore, in front of Victoria villas and at the junction itself. This will eliminate the taxi population from using the inside (verge) lane and adding to the bottleneck. We have the police; use them.

* Ensure that the taxis pull aside into the stopping lane in front of the mall, and before the junction and do not stop in an active traffic lane. Once again, simple policing policies.

* Increase the length of the stopping lane in front of the mall so as to accommodate more taxis.

Some longer term measures can be:

* Acquire the properties on the north west side of the junction so as to properly construct an access lane from the west into the main road.

Until this is done, effect the following traffic control measures:

* Close the exit to the mall on the main road from 4 pm until 8 pm and only allow exit on the western side (leading to St Finbar’s)

* Make the same western road (leading to St Finbar’s) one way between these hours so as to completely eliminate access from this road to the Four Roads junction.

* Switch off the traffic light.

Whereas this will cause some inconvenience to the mall shoppers, they will drive around and enter the Diego Martin traffic off the Western Main Road, there will be little traffic since the bottleneck will have been eliminated.

Stuart Dalgliesh

Diego Martin

Zebra crossings are for crossing

I am in constant conflict with what is right and what is normal/accepted behaviour in T&T.

The right side of my brain tells me to stop and give way when I notice pedestrians at a zebra crossing (aka sleeping policeman).

Yet, the other side of my brain, the more dominant one, tells me they are only waiting for a taxi and to just proceed full speed ahead. I also have to be aware of the cars behind that may slam into the back of me if I stop abruptly.

It is also unfortunate that the authorities see it fit to put zebra crossings anywhere they feel.

Specific mention must go to the zebra crossing at Powder Magazine where, after veering right to enter Diego Martin, you are suddenly confronted with one. There have been some improvements, though. The Government has recently been trying to make these crossings more noticeable to the drivers by introducing flashing lights at the intersection.

Please, people, don’t stand near the crossings if you are not crossing. And, can the Government, in the future, please give some thought to where they are placed and educate the public on their proper use and function.

Mark Hardy

Santa Cruz

Media can help the fight

The media is a powerful tool and should be taken advantage of especially in a time of great need.

Even though I’ve been away for sometime, I can’t help feel for the people of my place of birth and the evil that has befallen this country with regards to the kidnapping crimes. I have many friends and family members living here and their safety is important.

Please continue to do your very best to constantly confront this grave situation by publishing, as often as possible, constructive and conscious awakening information that could make a difference in at least slowing down or even eliminating this new wave of terrorism.

Someone out there will take you seriously and, who knows, could even make it happen.

Give the kidnapping sensation serious coverage. The world needs to know that a small country like T&T will not stand for this type of attack on our citizens.

We do care and want to keep our paradise island safe.

Rosalind Seheult

via e-mail

Congrats to Anita

I wish to congratulate a student who did extremely well in home economics at the CXC level in June 2005.

When one hears of a successful student, the first thing that comes to mind is a student from a “prestige” school: Naparima, SAGHS, Convent, Bishop Anstey or Presentation.

We have, for years, attributed success to schools that have a certain social standing or status.

So would it surprise you to find out that this student attends Fyzabad Composite Secondary School and she topped all other students in T&T in O-Level home economics? In addition, she placed third overall in the Caribbean. Her name is Anita Sookoo and she is currently doing A-Levels at that same school.

Congratulations, Anita, on your accomplishment. It is nice to see that the youth of Fyzabad are excelling.

Joseph Pancham

via e-mail

Extra lessons not necessary

To the primary schoolteacher who wrote the article, “Children benefit from extra lessons”:

Let me first respond by hoping that you were not present at any of the workshops conducted for the retraining of primary schoolteachers. If you were present, then you may have missed most of the ideas presented.

You pointed out that each person is an individual and performs at different levels. This is quite correct, but what you seem to not understand is that it should be your goal as a teacher to ensure that children, who all learn in different ways, perform at the same level.

Effective teachers understand this and accept the enormous challenge. This involves using different teaching strategies aimed at students of different abilities.

Obviously, from your statement, “Children who are average and below average are the ones targeted for extra lessons” you teach solely for the above-average students. Unfortunately, many teachers fall into this easy way of teaching and anyone can teach above-average children.

It is, however, the good teacher who can reach all students.

So, primary schoolteacher, I suggest that you educate yourself by attending some of the excellent workshops available and that keep up-to-date with articles on education.

Primary schoolteachers need to reflect on their role and on the importance they play in the lives of these students.

Teach your students that having pride in being a good teacher is more important than obtaining money from extra lessons. Your students will respect you for that.

Steven A White

via e-mail


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