17 February, 2007

The age old traffic problem in Suva

The problem of traffic jams has found its way into the media again over the last few days with complaints from the travelling public and vehicle owners about the severity of the problem in the Makoi-Laqere area and at the Nabua roundabout near Suva. Read an article about employers coming into the discussion in today's Fiji Times here. If we look back over the years, the problem has been there for a number of years. It somewhat got better after the development of the two-lane-each-way roadway along parts of the Kings Road between Suva and Nausori. However, with the rise in number of vehicles on our roads and with most of that concentrated in the same corridor, the problem has crept back. Now we need strategic thinking to help solve this problem. Some of the issues, we hear being considered is the widening of the roundabout at Nabua with part of the land belonging to Nivis Motors being taken off to do that. Another is the development of new roads : one to go in-land from near Nausori across the Tovata and Colo-i-Suva hills joining Princes Road somewhere; the other to run alongside the Rewa River and the coastal plains and coming up at Jerusalem Road near the Fiji Golf Course at Vatuwaqa. However, that does not appear to be enough. What is needed is a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem. Some of the suggestions, I can offer are :
  • review the number of vehicle registration licences issued each year to try to set a limit/ceiling on the number of vehicles on our roads e.g. the Singapore system;
  • redistribute the layout of housing settlements to areas inland where new roads can be built to ease the traffic from around the already over-populated semi-urban areas between Suva and Nausori;
  • put in place a new (train) rail system between Suva and Nausori and offer incentives for travel by rail with some penalties impose on those wishing to enjoy their own vehicles;
  • look at moving housing developments to past the Lami area and install a sea taxi system to get workers and students from there through to Suva by sea (from Lami or the Ministry of Fisheries jetty past Lami);
  • employers to allow flexi-time schedules to enable workers to come in later in the morning to work and avoid the traffic jam (workers can also use the time to attend to other chores);
  • schools to move starting times to 9am or 9.15am and finish off around 3.30pm thereby ensuring that they are not on the road at the same time as workers going to or coming back from work and thus relieve traffic congestion.

Those are a few, I could think of. Anyone, wants to add on to the list? Feel free to do so.

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