Zone them

Town Planner suggests full zoning of schools as a means of easing traffic jams

If Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins had his way, school children in Barbados would be walking to school, instead of driving to get there, as a means of easing some of the current traffic congestion on this country’s roads.

However, the Town & Country Planning Department top official said the proposal for full zoning of this island’s primary and secondary schools continues to run into a major roadblock put up by education officials.

At the same time, Cummins told participants in Wednesday night’s town hall meeting hosted by his department that the Ministry of Transport & Works also needed to shoulder some of the blame for the current traffic woes, for not keeping pace with the demands for more roads.

The meeting was the third of six being facilitated by the Town & Country Planning Office, given that there are currently too few roads to handle the increasing amount of traffic.

The town hall meetings are aimed at getting public feedback on the draft Physical Development Plan prepared by a team of consultants.

On the matter of traffic jams, Minister of Commerce and Business Development Donville Inniss, who was in the audience, asked whether planners had considered the reason why, “during the summer holidays in particular, you can get anywhere in five minutes that would normally take you 45 minutes”.

In response, Cummins said though that difference in traffic was long recognized, his Department was currently hamstrung by the fact that there was no school zoning system in place.

“My colleagues at the Ministry of Education don’t like me to say this,” Cummins said.

“[However], if the children, especially at the primary school level, went to the primary schools in their respective neighbourhoods, that would ease a lot of our traffic congestion,” the Chief Town Planner said.

Cummins further suggested that if the same were to be applied to secondary schools, “I think that will also take some pressure off [the road network]”.

Another “critical” consideration, the planning official said, was “a reliable transport system to move the children to and from schools”.

In that way “parents would not then have to be shuttling the children to schools and to lessons, and to different things”.

However, he pointed out that between 1995 and 2013, the number of imported cars had doubled, “and I don’t think we built five kilometres of non-Class Four roads – the roads within sub-divisions.

“Therefore we must expect congestion,” he said, adding that  “it is a culmination of things that we need to look at”.

With 2017 dubbed ‘The Year of Productivity’ on the island, the Chief Town Planner, said, “we must also look at the amount of time that is lost with people stuck in traffic, are not only getting to work late, but sometimes getting to work frustrated.

“It then takes them some time to settle down, and to work,” he said, adding that by the time some people get around to working, it is already ten o’clock in the morning.

28 Responses to Zone them

  1. John Everatt March 2, 2017 at 2:11 am

    I agree with the town planner. If children were to attend schools in their own neighborhoods (zones) then we would have much less traffic on the roads and would be consuming far less imported fossil fuels than we currently are. I have lived here for the last 18 years and that is one of the first things I noticed. This is certainly the way it is in many other parts of the world with no harm to the children’s education at all. It should at least be considered if only for the sake of saving foreign exchange let alone the time and dollar savings for parents and students.

  2. Samud Ali
    Samud Ali March 2, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I’m pretty sure most children attend their closest primary school, but does that mean they have to walk? What parent with a car is going to go off to work and let their little one walk alone to primary school?

    • Dg Griff
      Dg Griff March 2, 2017 at 5:49 am

      Agreed. The record number of road fatalities for the year, especially the recent ones involving pedestrians suggest now may not be the time for such a measure.

  3. Ernesta Catlyn March 2, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Mummies were at home to meet the children when they come from school. You are now suggesting that we have more latch-key children. Thing about the perverts and druggies, to mention a few that will steal the hearts and souls of these little ones by the time they parents get home – sometimes some three hours after the children have been home by themselves. Everything about the life we knew while growing up has changed and while zoning is still ideal it will be a hard sell. Additionally, as far as I know there is zoning at the secondary level, but like most things in Barbados it is really only on paper.

  4. Jennifer March 2, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Lets hope Mr Cummins don’t get his way. You educated big heads never cease to amaze me. You created a slave house school system in which you have schools having different standards, and end results and talk about zoning. This is why you will keep getting that stumbling block because the MOE knows this. When you have certain schools getting more scholarships, exhibitions etc would you not want your child to go there???? I always say watch where the white and Indian children go to school as this is saying a lot about the place. Combermere is one such degraded place that they ran from in past years. You certainly wont be sending their children to Parkinson, etc. Then we got private schools with a different teaching standard all together with PROPER learning conducive conditions. I am a REALIST. U people need to wheel and come again. While you are at it
    Zone WORKING people too.

  5. Jennifer March 2, 2017 at 5:52 am


  6. Alex Alleyne March 2, 2017 at 6:37 am

    HC and QC will not be on that ZONE list. You can bet your bottom dollar. It will be fought tooth and nail by the “bourgeoisie”.

  7. Lisa Moore
    Lisa Moore March 2, 2017 at 6:38 am

    So let me get this right, you’re to enroll your children at the closest school, so that they can walk to school but as a parent working in town with no support systems in place would still have to leave work early and stay home with them. These things sound good in theory but are not practical.

    • Mr Rock usa June 8, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Lisa Moore i have been reading these comments ti see if anyone would come up with a good idea. Do far nothing. Well here is one for you. Libraries. Bulid lots of them to accommodate the kids after school.

  8. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner March 2, 2017 at 6:44 am

    That idea wil never work in Barbados because children are judge on what secondary school they went to and certain schools fit that bill,blame ya all selves for that problem.

  9. Eileene Jordan
    Eileene Jordan March 2, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I realise he got alot to say now lol and talking foolishness all the time.

  10. seagul March 2, 2017 at 7:54 am

    The price of progress on this small island state must be always kept on a lease. Zoning could be a first step in erasing all this bourgeoise and babylonian class…..everyday the bucket go to the well, one day the bottom will drop out.

  11. Rubertha Blackman
    Rubertha Blackman March 2, 2017 at 7:58 am

    stupse these out of touch people need to go away, so if I want my child to go to Harrison College and I live in Turtle Back Ridge I got to move to town or can I bribe my way around that. I know a family that they work in town but live in St. Philip, the children go to school in town because its easier for them. I am so tired of entitled people spewing non sense and don’t have a clue as to why people are making the choices that they have.

  12. Otewili March 2, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Some of the one way roads in warrens and other areas where traffic is congested needs to be open as two way roads.

  13. Sheron Inniss March 2, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Times past can’t be compared to the present when it comes to transportation, education and the perverts out there. As a child going to school from the 1960’s there wasn’t so much congestion on the roads. Even then the transport system was not perfect. Zoning would work only if all schools were created equal. It may be true a child can learn anywhere but a whole class of dummies would frustrate the ones who want to learn and have the potential to learn. Also the slow ones would be unable to rise above their weaknesses as there would be no modelling of better. Plus there are lots of crazy drivers on the streets and lots of perverts and druggies. Times have changed with lots of mothers working and the list goes on. It will take a long time to sort the mess. Someone has to bite the bullet; but it must be done in a fair and systematic way. Also all of the infrastructure has to be in place. The powers that be must start now. Learn from the mistakes and do it right the next time around bit by bit.

  14. Alex Alleyne March 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

    The work hour(s) system need to be looked at in terms of the hours start to finish. Most people leave home at 15 minutes to 8 to get to work for 8 o’clock AM. Bridgetown shut down at 5 o’clock PM and there is a rush to clear the area.
    Bridgetown and Warrens must open up at 7 AM and shut down at 10PM , but knowing that the Unions are so political, they will not let this happen. Everyone don’t have to get in for 8 nor everyone will not have to leave at 10.

  15. Janice Worrell March 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

    It is alright to talk about zoning but what if you are living in a certain parish say for instance St.Lucy and for some reason you have to relocate to another parish lets say St. John what happens next?

    • Reg Marshall March 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

      If you move to St .John your child is guaranteed a spot in a school in St. John. If you want to keep your child in the St.Lucy zone, you apply to the Ministry of Education for a waiver. Zoning means that your child is guaranteed a spot in the school closest to your home.

  16. Joan Worrell March 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

    When Donald Trump made a stupid statement about refugees creating problems over a weekend last month, the former Prime Minister asked what he was smoking to make him talks such rubbish. I suppose nothing is wrong with asking the same of Mr. Cummins.

  17. seagul March 2, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Comparing Donald with Mr. Cummins is ridiculous–talk about attention crave….

  18. Smiley March 2, 2017 at 11:24 am


  19. ch March 2, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Mr. Cummins is correct but our officials have all bark and no bite because they have allowed a culture that caters to the whims and wants of our indisciplined people.
    Our children need to attend the primary and secondary area schools because they will go forward as a mixed- ability group, thereby equalizing the academic standards across schools.
    They will not lose energy and time required for active learning, which is now being wasted in long journeys to and from school.
    There wil be less delinquency and a greater fostering of community spirit if our elders take their role as nurturers
    When full zoning is implemented – as should have been done two to three decades ago- the archaic BSSE exam will automatically be gone. It is a fossil of the old Barbados where persons needed the validation of an elitist social system.
    Children must be taught that self-esteem and confidence are not tied to a uniform and must be exposed to a reformed, modern curriculum that really equips them for life in a world that does not care where they went to school.
    Employers today require a skills set which enables you to multi-task efficiently; be IT-literate and make their money. At the professional level, it’s the university degrees that matter.
    So currently we have a crop of ” well-educated” young people who did not know this and are unemployed because they confused the narrow ” top-school” world of Barbados with the real world.
    Full zoning in our education system is needed urgently and our parents need to understand that it’s not about their misguided egos or their convenience.
    It’s about the best interest of our children. ALL of them.

  20. Mikey March 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    @Jennifer,,, I read your two pieces on this matter of zoning etc. ,,,, very very well said, I could not have said it better. CONGRATULATIONS on your “hit-the-nail-on-the-head” comments.

    The Leaders in the Public Service know exactly what is causing the problems but come up with some weirdo solutions that are not practical given the realities of our Barbadian society.

    Finally, parents take their primary school children from rural residences to urban schools and vice versa for ease of drop-off and pick-up because of the work location. But according to these dummies, leave your children at home to “fadge” for themselves and allow these rotten-brain predatory druggies molest them with the Child Care Board saying that the parents have abandoned responsibility etc.,
    A PROPER AND RELIABLE MASS-TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IS STILL OVERDUE ON THIS 2X4 island and no one seems to be able to fix it. A temporary and sensible ban of private car is needed, flexi-hours need to be implemented, there is so much more that can be said, but adios for now.
    Nice reading your comments Jennifer, they mesh with my thoughts on the subject.

  21. kathy-Ann Clarke March 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Well, I did not send my child to the primary school closes to home. Why? Simply because when close finishes at three, and I am still at work all up until 5pm, where would she be, so I thought it best to send her to the Primary school closest to the work place, made it way easier for me to collect her, or she walk to my business place after school. Can’t say the same for Secondary tho.

  22. Bradg March 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    No easy solution here. Barbados is too densely populated and and bajans love their cars

  23. KJ March 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Zoning is not necessarily the best solution. I live literally 5 minutes away from a primary school. However, I have to be at work for 8 and there is no one to either take the little one to or pick him up from school. A good place to start would be to have more schools offering the before and after school care programe

  24. Fallon March 3, 2017 at 8:20 am

    HeLots of congestion can be eased with a few roads signs indicating times for Temporary Traffic orders creating temporary double lanes in one direction in to town, and then reverse the opposite way out of town would ease a lot of single lane congestion..90% of the traffic is going one way on a road with more capacity..redirect other 5 to 10% to alternate route for 2 hours during peak times..not a single new road then has to built on that route
    (I speak as an Ex traffic engineering admistrator in London .)

  25. Mr Rock usa June 8, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Lets have11 separate school zones. We need all school teachers to have a masters degree in teaching. The local teaching college just not cutting it. The would be teacher attening that teaching school are continuing the same fail system. Aka. Cat trying to catch his tail. For all the cant think bajans that like excuses. Here is an idea for after school kids. Puplic libary! Build lots of them all over Barbados for kids to go and study after school.


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