Fix the traffic lights at Albouy's Point

Bad enough that drivers constantly run through red light there, now the pedestrian lights aren't functioning - the one at the exit of Point Pleasant is permanently red, while the one on Front Street does not change even if someone's pressed the button.

It's problematic as pedestrians are assuming that the pedestrian light is about to change in the regular rotation once the light at Parlaville has turned red, only to be surprised when Front Street traffic has been given the go-ahead.

Does Corporation of Hamilton have an email addy?


Cutting back on public transport

In the wake of Government's announcement of the cancellation of the St. George's to Hamilton daily ferry service, as well as this recent article about the reduction of the #6 bus route for St. George's to St. David's, I have to wonder what exactly Government sees its public transportation role as.

Considering that Government promised to make public transportation free for all in their election manifesto, and indeed followed up with enabling schoolchildren to ride buses for free, it should be clear that they're treating the bus and ferry services as services to the community at large - taxpayer dollars rightfully going to what can be considered an essential service to the population.

However the claim that they're cutting routes because they don't get enough passengers or that there are financial constraints at play doesn't make sense.

Make up your mind. Don't short-change your customers, particularly those in St. David's. The Government should be pushing hard to encourage people to leave their cars at home, thus reducing congestion, noise pollution, exhaust fumes, while making the streets safer at the same time. However you have to provide the means, and that includes having consistently running buses and ferries, adequate parking at the ferry stops, sheltered bus stops (and include sidewalks/pedestrian crossings in the vicinity), to encourage the populace to do so.

Public transport isn't likely to be a profitable industry here, so don't try to make it as such. The value of a good public transportation can be measured in other ways than dollars earned or spent.


Road improvements for safety

I chuckled when I heard Minister Burgess speak on the TV news last night about people 'stealing' the pink and blue coatings from the bus stop poles.

"A bus shelter maintenance programme is underway, but the Minister also had to report on a disturbing trend of thieves stealing bright pink and blue coverings from bus stop poles.

"We deplore the kind of anti-social conduct that leads to removal of the coverings and call upon the public to speak with one voice against it," he said."

He conveniently omitted the fact that the coatings were put up in such a shoddy fashion that as soon as summer approached, the coatings were peeling off in the first place, making it very easy for somebody to pick away at the remnants. Maybe if they had gotten it done right in the first place,... ah who am I kidding.

It's the same with all the road works. We get shoddy 'improvements' done where they just patch up the road, a rain shower comes, some big trucks roll over the ground and it's torn up all over again. Just do it right the first time, and it'll save money over the long term.

Then there's this piece about pedestrian crossings:

"Mr. Burgess said other planned road safety improvements included installing flashing amber beacons at pedestrian crossings"

How about getting the regular street lamps in working operation instead of them flickering off and major roads being encased in darkness?

I suppose the installing of flashing lights at pedestrian crossings isn't a bad idea, but it's no guarantee to be a success what with our drivers' tendency to roll as soon as the person is out of their line of vision. What if the person had dropped their purse and turned around to pick it up? But that's a beef I have with drivers, not the powers that be. I've noticed that some signs indicating a pedestrian crossing is nearby, aren't around anymore - such as Reid Street where it intersects with Queen. I'm still of the opinion that a better way to ensure pedestrian safety is to raise the crossings, forcing drivers to slow down - and if anyone wants to make it into a ramp, good luck.

Of course, in an effort to be less doom-and-gloom, the promises to resurface East Broadway near the Crow Lane junctions are a good thing and enabling wheelchair access to some of our beaches is a good start to making the island more accessible to all of our residents and visitors. A lot needs to be done, particularly in the City, and it should be a priority of our Government to implement.


Too many guns, and too much lawlessness

One of the worst parts of these incidents of course, is that everybody is expecting the Police to solve everything. While there are legitimate issues one may take with their actions and policies, the fact is that we have people's sons, brothers, cousins and boyfriends (and occasionally daughters and sisters, too) committing terrible acts and we're unwilling to talk with them directly.

How not to run a local television station

The fact that nobody at Bermuda Broadcasting was monitoring their signal from (possibly even before) noon to 5pm on Sunday, giving us some static image for the entire duration (and thus, not broadcasting CBS's NFL coverage), and or not bother to check in and flick their damn switch (or whatever it is they use to get the network feed), proves without a doubt that the powers that be at Bermuda Broadcasting simply can't be bothered.

They just killed every ounce of goodwill they gained with their new "Let's Talk" show. Just give up the ghost already, either shut down or let someone with the will and aptitude to run the company take over. Stick to radio. Yeah, it sucks for those who are unable or unwilling to get a subscription TV package, but enough is enough.


I hate Bermuda's drivers, 2009 version

So this morning we had a monsoon strike the island. Seriously, it poured, constant and relentless. And we were forced to ride the bike in because of an appointment outside of town.

What is a major irritant, is the fact that most Bermudian drivers when it rains, don't bother to slow down when pedestrians or motorbike riders are approaching. I mean, it's bad enough that they're vulnerable to getting soaked as it is, but then they take a huge splash from a driver going along the road.

I got heavily splashed no less than 8 times between Paget traffic lights and Berry Hill Road by cars that refused to at least slow their ass down, even when I honked my horn and flashed my lights. We have a lot of insensitive drivers, and I suppose we've had them for a while. I just wish that I could dump a couple of gallons of dirty water on them so that they could know first-hand what it feels like.

Briefly on the Alliance

As our good friends at Catch A Fire pointed out, I hadn't said anything about the new party launch for the Bermuda Democratic Alliance so far.

I think I share most of the sentiments expressed in the posts at Bermuda Longtail and Bermuda Fables. The fact that this party (I can now say 'party' instead of 'movement', I suppose, thank goodness) is new, professes to be different, makes it an attractive option to many who are fed up with the current political landscape, so by default possesses a sizable support base. Can they build on that and attract people who traditionally lean PLP?

Their method of attracting interest is a novel one to Bermuda and there's a discussion on Bermuda Jewel that appears to dig through the merits of their 'open forum' method of developing policies and agenda items.

One thing, and the Triangle's Tip blog touches on this, is what exactly is the alliance made of? When I think 'alliance' I tend to think of groups coming from different places joining up in a common cause. What we're seeing is a group of people who have left the UBP, joined up with... each other. The public faces are all former UBP members. They claim to have former PLP members in their fold that are 'waiting in the wings', but that just doesn't make sense to me to have them not out front, to prove that they are truly not an offshoot of one particular party.

And as far as the posts concerning the acquisition of the bda.bm domain not going to the new party, perhaps if the party had gotten themselves organised months ago, maybe they would have had a decent leg up on getting the domain name in the first place. But at least everyone agrees that the process of getting a domain name with .bm is very antiquated and outdated.


Fun with ferries

It's bad enough that the Dept. of Marine and Ports announced that the St. George's to Hamilton ferry service was being cut (and thus now provoking a petition from St. George's residents) but we had a very unfortunate situation yesterday where hundreds of passengers were forced to queue up for ferries headed to Dockyard as a cruise ship was berthed there but without sufficient numbers of transportation vehicles to get these visitors out and about (and potentially, of course, contributing to our economy).

Seems like a recipe for frustration and disappointment among visitors and resident commuters alike.

Perhaps the Minister of Transport is working on ways of remedying the situation as I speak, though.


Call the Stats guy to explain the education results

It's good to have the Bda Longtail Blog back, and the author has just summarized the confusing stats from our secondary school students in the two posts here and here.

Our public secondary school students are achieving miserable GCSE pass rates under 50%, yet the percentage of graduating students is 97% and 99%?

You know what I would infer from this?

That the latter two figures are based on the amount of students enrolled in the school right up until the end, *not* the amount of students who started the year.

So it must be completely misleading to believe the 97% and 99% figures, unless the standards for graduation are so low that all you need to do is show up to take a GCSE exam.

And even if you allow for 'graduating' students to get the extra boosts by taking the 'free' Bermuda College courses, they're still completely disadvantaged when compared to their peers from other countries.


Obama-like movements and moments

I'm sure we're not alone in the world in this, but many Bermudians, from all sides of the political spectrum are fond of using the last name of the current U.S. President as some kind of synonym for unity and cohesiveness.

It's played out to the point of exhaustion and madness.

So stop it, people. Can we ban the phrase "Obama-movement" with regards to politics, especially now that we've since learned that all isn't so peachy with the U.S. after their great watershed moment of their election result happened and trying to run the country has turned out to make half the country angry and fed up?

Enough is enough, and that goes for all our local politicians. Shoot, I liked them better when they were on that whole stupid "testicular fortitude" bollocks. No pun intended, of course.

Everything's happening, or nothing's happening

Let's see:

The Report into Young Black Males.
The Bermuda First Report.
The reveal (of sorts) of the new political party.
Corporation of Hamilton has a meeting open to the public.
A UBP leadership battle tonight.
Parliament re-convenes tomorrow with the Throne Speech.
And the PLP has its Banquet on the weekend.

Not to mention recent announcements concerning PATI and the Foote Report on Overseas Territories.

It would be a lot to digest over the course of a week (heck, the first report is 220+ pages).

But for the talk and reports and pledges, crime hasn't abated and we had another damn shooting last weekend. It seems like business as usual for the Island's frustrations concerning education and the economy.

I dunno, looks like everyone's trying to take headlines and the like at an inopportune time. It's not all being done deliberately, I know, but it's not easy to shake off the feeling of 'here we go again'.