This is a student project from the 2021 Minds Inspired Journalism & Media Summer Camp:
One of the most consistent problems every Caymanian has to deal with on a regular basis is traffic, especially in the western half of the island.
With traffic jams building up and car movement becoming more and more challenging, especially during rush hour, one of the biggest questions is ‘how to solve it?’
It’s an issue that pops up time and time again, and with Cayman’s population continuing to rise, it won’t go away on it’s own.
So what are the solutions? There are a variety of options proposed, each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
One idea is to widen the road networks, to fit more cars across a wider area, therefore decreasing the number of traffic jams.
However with Cayman’s limited size, this would mean many buildings and businesses would have to be removed to make space, costing large amounts of money and harming businesses.
Another proposal is to add additional funding to the public transport system, to make buses more accessible and used. Whilst effective at temporarily reducing traffic, this is not a long term solution. It will only temporarily decrease the traffic congestion, and as with Cayman’s rising population, traffic will only go up in time. There is also the issue of how to pay for it, as the money will inevitably have to come from somewhere.
Another idea is to encourage people to carpool, use public transport and bikes instead of cars. This has its advantages but again is a halfway measure. Encouraging people to do something doesn’t mean they’ll do it, with many people being unwilling to bike and use public transport due to the lack of funds dedicated towards these services. Also again, it’s a temporary solution that won’t fix traffic congestion forever.
Additional proposals include funds for a tram system, but the costs would be great and there’s no space on the island for such.
Simply put, with Cayman’s growing deficit and lack of space, finding a reliable long term solution to traffic will not be easy. The government has launched studies into the effects of traffic and the reliability of certain solutions to the problem, but large-scale action on the topic remains limited as of now, despite the ever growing calls by Caymanians to solve the issue.
But this is what experts on the topic think. What does the average Caymanian think on how to solve traffic problems?
Daphne Ewing-Chow suggested several solutions to traffic, including trying to decrease waiting times at schools, hospitals, workplaces, reducing the amount of time cars need to wait, therefore decreasing traffic.
She also suggested promoting alternative means of transportation, such as additional funding for free and accessible public transportation, carpooling, and encouraging walking and biking instead of using cars.
Most of the solutions discussed and proposed however won’t fix Cayman’s traffic woes forever. With climate change threatening the size of an already very small Grand Cayman and with a rising population, solutions are already very limited.
This does not, however, mean action should not be taken, any reduction in Caymanian traffic, whether it be through public transport, alternative means of transportation, or carpooling, will help the community substantially and go a long way in making life easier for every Caymanian.
See the other student projects: