Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Road Town Rush Hour

It strikes me as odd that of everywhere I've lived, the worst rush-hour traffic I've encountered has been here, in Road Town. On an island of only 20,000 or so people, it would seem that there would never be enough movement of vehicles to create bad traffic of any sort, but in fact, the rush-hour traffic is far worse in Road Town than it ever was in Denver.

Although I am not a traffic engineer, it is not difficult to figure out why traffic is so bad in Road Town: there is essentially only one route from the East side of Road Town to the West side, and that is through the traffic circle downtown. All cars going from one side to the other have to go through the circle. There are alternate routes: Main Street for eastbound traffic and De Castro for westbound, but the disadvantages of these make fighting through the traffic circle almost equally appealing. 

There are properly three rush hours in Road Town: morning, noon and night. The morning rush hour starts almost exactly at 8:15, continues until just a few minutes before nine-o'-clock. I had thought that it was caused equally by dropping kids off at school and by people going to work, but since there is no morning rush hour during school holidays, I have come to realize that it is centered entirely around school. Similarly, evening rush hour starts about 4:30, and lasts until around 5:45. It, too is a combination of school and work traffic, although it is not reduced as significantly during school holidays.

The severest and strangest of the three Road Town rush hours for me is the one that occurs right between noon and 2pm. The noon rush hour is so bad, that I once spent 45 minutes trying to travel the mile from Huntum's Ghut to the ferry terminal. I assume it is caused by the entire population of the island going to lunch at the same time -- running their errands and getting something to eat whether at home or at a restaurant. Apparently no one eats in their office, and none of the highschoolers eat at school.

So if you're visiting Tortola for a brief while, you may want to stay out of Road Town during the three rush hours. If you've moved here, you'll get to enjoy some of the worst traffic you'll likely ever encounter.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for my chuckle of the day!!!! The traffic on Havanna St seems to be exactly as you describe Road Town...morning noon and night!!!!


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