"Oh East is East, and West is West, and never the two shall meet" is what Rudyard Kipling believed and cited as gospel in his "Ballad of East and West."
Kipling was writing about India and was convinced that the meeting of East and West was impossible. He did not know that what is impossible anywhere else in the world is commonplace in Trinidad. Over the past few days the meeting of East and West at the Roxy Roundabout has required regular police intervention and created considerable speculation about what will happen when the police revert to their regular routine which consists almost exclusively of not being around when and where they are needed.
It was always clear that the traffic plan was flawed and doomed to failure. The traffic was heading in the wrong direction on the wrong road. As one of my colleagues said, "If the traffic on Tragarete Road heads west and the traffic from St James going east has to get to Ariapita Avenue to get into Port of Spain they must meet at the Roxy Roundabout and create huge jams and clogs that will get worse when school opens."
I experienced this for the past two days with even (or should that be especially) the police unable to keep the flow going since two fast moving streams of traffic heading in different directions get in each other's way at Roxy.
As the English would say, "What you gain on the swings, you lose on the roundabout."
One of my learned friends versed in comparative religion explained the reason this was happening. "Ganesh is the Hindu God who removes obstacles and clears the path ahead of you," he said. "However, it seems that if you place an English name in front of His, it undermines His powers and, in fact, turns them completely upside down and wrong-side out. He creates obstacles instead of removing them."
My own theory is that the real problem is the intervention of Louis Lee Sing. Louis seems to be like the character in the old "Lil Abner" comic strip, Joe Btfsplk, who walked with his own dark cloud hovering overhead and who automatically brought disaster with him. Louis worked at BWIA and that crashed. Louis got a radio station and Sat took him to the cleaners. Then Louis had access to the National Lottery Board and made it easy for Devant to win them. Louis seems to have his values upside down – the wrecking service he uses to terrorise motorists (who Louis says park "illegally") gets $300 and the city $200 when a vehicle gets towed. Clearly, if you have to "wreck" a vehicle the city should get more than the wrecking crew.
This is why the combination of director of highways Roger Ganesh and Louis is all wrong. They spent a million, they're trying to milk the new route for all it's worth, they take pictures of where the traffic is flowing smoothly and don't go near the Roxy Roundabout, and then talk blithely of hiccups. The cure for hiccups is to stand on your head and drink a glass of water. I would make Louis and Roger do that in the middle of Roxy Roundabout.
The only way this plan can turn around is to use Tragarete Road for traffic going East so that vehicles coming from St James heading into town don't have to go around the roundabout but continue on the left. Ariapita should be for traffic heading west so that if any vehicles have to go into St James they will stay on their side of the roundabout. There will be no mixing of east and west, no jams, no fuss and a simple barrier could then replace the roundabout which will be given to the mayor as he seeks a turnaround in his career.