How does one reduce traffic congestion on Island roads?

June 14th, 2010 by Richard Lord

Many Guernsey residents believe that one of the irritations of island life is the traffic congestion faced during the morning and afternoon rush hour.  Traffic congestion occurs when parents take their children to and from school and when business people drive in and out of St Peter Port.  Long queues of cars can form along Le Banques to the north, Grange Road and Ruettes Brayes to the west, and Val des Terre to the south of St Peter Port.   And the frustration isn’t over when you arrive by car at the Town waterfront.  Even with 3000 public car parking spaces in Town it can be time consuming to find one free.

Many towns and cities around the world face a similar problem of too many cars and not enough road space.  In August 2001 the City of Muenster Planning Office produced a poster that compared the space occupied by 72 people traveling by car, by bus and by bicycle.  The Planning Office determined that based on an average occupancy of 1.2 people per car, 60 cars were required to transport 72 people, which occupied 1000 square metres of road.  If 72 people traveled by bicycle they occupied about 90 square metres of road space.  The least road space was occupied by transporting the 72 passengers by bus.

The City of Muenster Planning Office produced a poster to illustrate the difference in congestion between these three forms of transportation.  If more car commuters could car share or take the bus or ride a bicycle to their destination the remaining car users would suffer less delay and less frustration.

An article in The Tampa Tribune illustrates the same point. The article states that the vitality of a city comes from its pedestrians and not from its cars.  Cars consume large amounts of space and radically change the landscape.

The 2010 summer closure to traffic on Sundays of the St Peter Port waterfront from the Weighbridge roundabout to the Albert Memorial is a great success.  Families stroll along the promenade, enjoy the open space, and the waterfront restaurants without the noise and danger of vehicular traffic.

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