HOW we respond to unanticipated delays, stoppages and blockages is a useful indicator of our internal resolve and planning. Even the most stoic among us, despite the self-denial encouraged during the Lenten season, would prefer to spend the wasted time doing something useful, instead of paying the price for poor planning. Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed first-hand delays arising from roadworks and road blockages, which sparked an interest in this topic, since the management of the traffic arising from a blockage is a useful measure of the planning process behind those works.
When a computer component fails, and threatens to disrupt a larger process, we typically take corrective action. We may use a pencil and paper instead to record our activities, or nowadays, use our mobile phones. A well-managed business may have a spare computer available to substitute for a failing machine, instead of waiting for a replacement to be sourced and installed. Unfortunately, when road blockages occur, that ‘route replacement option’ is not quite available!
Last Saturday morning, after spending an inordinate amount of time in a queue northbound along Bridge Street, I discovered that the William Peter Boulevard was closed to traffic, which forced everyone to join an already-busy Jeremie Street, made worse by a visiting cruise ship. Interestingly, something similar happens on Saturday nights, when access to Peynier Street is restricted between Jeremie Street and The Waterfront. A better system might alert traffic approaching from both sides of the closed-off area, well before it even reaches the blockage.
When it is so easy to disrupt the flow of traffic, without providing a detour onto a prepared route, the quality of the planning process is suspect, and half-measures the likely suspect for the disruption.
In response to an emergency such as broken water mains, downed power lines, or other unanticipated issue, we can grudgingly or placidly accept the twist of fate which caused the blockage. Otherwise, part of the road closure approval should include a high-visibility signage component, to alert and divert the major sources of traffic approaching the problem area.
To paraphrase Derek Walcott: the care and compassion that prevents hapless motorists from being caught in a queue, exceeds the ease with which sections of the road can be closed in the first place.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant offering expertise in data management, systems design and analysis.