This year brought the fullest in-person gatherings since Covid-19 locked us down in 2019. Isolation and loneliness from curfews, and forced social distancing spawned a need for social engagement that many want to fill. Places are getting crowded, we notice, even as promoters deliver more events and new restaurants are sprouting everywhere.
Outside now seems safe for us to move around freely, with or without masks. But this return to normalcy comes with severe challenges. No one will deny that traffic is certainly the worse. When schools re-opened for in-class instructions thoroughfares turned into parking lots. Even secondary and tertiary roads discovered the perils of traffic. Always bad, Fridays turned brutal for commuters and those who just want to pop out on a quick errand.
Clearly, the pandemic and the changes it brought pushed more Jamaicans to buy vehicles. Worse, seems like there was a sale on put-put bikes. Their riders are nastier than the taxi and Coaster bus drivers, if that’s possible.
Frequent rains didn’t help matters. When the ODPEM put out alerts for hurricane Ian people went out in droves (pun intended) to get supplies. That brought double lane pile ups and miles of cars at a standstill throughout our town centres.
We had hoped the rise in gas prices may have slowed vehicle use. But even as they complain at what is happening at the pumps people are filling up same way, and driving into… well, the traffic. Who knows, it may soon be faster to walk to our destination than drive. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, come to think of it. It would mean Jamaicans will get healthier.