A bold step toward addressing Honiara traffic jam
DEAR EDITOR, the ongoing traffic jam has become a daily concern to each and everyone who travel the Honiara City roads, day in and day out.
Nobody could say that he or she enjoys travelling along such a dusty road on an extremely hot day for an hour or two, unless that buddy is someone from the village who for the first time been to town all his or her life.
However, for students, workers, vendors, eye-shoppers and the travelling public, time management is crucial when it comes to travelling.
Whether in one’s own car or public transport, time is paramount cos time is money!
There has been some failed initiatives in the recent past to address the short bus routes which is a result to the traffic jam.
One obvious example was when the East Honiara MP came about with the agenda to the round house whereby policy and law makers could put in place policies and/ or laws to govern transportation within the country.
It was quite hot at the start however, it cooled down again shortly after and nothing eventuated.
Traffic officers do show up in trying to control the traffic especially during peak hours but again, it remained jammed all year round.
Now, one can visualize that the current billion-dollar project which is being recently taken up by Kitano Construction is of a classic and professional world standard road buiulding/ construction, especially the road from Central Market to the Mataniko Bridge.
However, when the Kukum Highway is transformed into a three- lane or so and completed in a year or two, this question must be raised in our mindsets, ‘Would such a road development solve the traffic jam issue?’ I for one, do have my projection otherwise and I therefore, invite everyone to join me in predicting the number of cars, trucks and buses on the road, the number of young careless drivers and the number of mentally- illed people along the roads in the next three to four years!
All of the above are nonetheless, but obvious contributing factors to traffic jam.
When all of these obstacles increase in that three to four- year period, Honiara main road will turn into chaos which will in turn affect the whole government system of this nation, Solomon Islands.
Service delivery from the government through all line ministries would be mostly affected because government workers arrive late for work and students late for classes.
Now, may I share some thoughts which I think could work if responsible authorities add value to with serious consideration and implementation.
Firstly, the granting of driving licences should only be issued to qualified drivers. Those that had gone through tests theoritically and practically, passed and are deserved to be issued a driving licence on merit.
The department within the ministry responsible for granting of driving licences must be urged to discharge their obligation professionally with caution and rebuff and not as a mere fundraising activity.
Secondly, a major thorough check on all public transport such as buses and taxi cabs should be conducted sooner rather than later by responsible authorities to see that all public transport vehicles are mechanically road worthy, fitted with a working air condition and that seats are comfortable to passengers with working seat belts.
Bus conductors on the other hand must dress neatly and in a healthy odourless appearance for passengers’ comfort when travelling onboard buses.
Alternatively, restrict or do away with 15 x seater buses and encourage 30 to 60 seaters for public transport service provision within the city.
Lastly, any pedestrian found to be distracting the traffic should be reported to police by the driver instantly and be prosecuted and charged.
Also, the increasing mentally- illed citizens normally found on the roads and streets should be segregated from the public for their safety and flow of the traffic.
Looking at those issues of concern in a broader perspective, believing that if responsible authorities work together, putting in place measures whereby each and everyone should adhere to, would breed a way forward to addressing the ongoing traffic jam in this small town of ours, commonly termed as Honiara City.
By Immi Tai