We’re not known for being ‘future gazers’ over here in St. Clement. Although, the way the Parish neatly fits together densely packed homes, with famers’ fields, is a model for our times; but anyone who has commuted from the east of the island in the last few weeks will have been presented with a daunting picture of what will happen, if we don’t tackle the island’s transport issues.
Multiple road-works at Georgetown, and on the Coast Road, have given us a glimpse of the bumper-to-bumper procession of cars which lies in store, if we don’t make changes; and that word “we” in there is the key one. No, this isn’t the government’s problem, convenient though it might be to park the issue firmly at the door of civil servants and politicians.
Convenient, but totally pointless. Transport touches all of us, from schools to homes to businesses to parishes, and the solution to what should be a 5 minute car journey actually taking 50 minutes (which is the current direction of travel) lies in collective partnership and effort.
We look into that complex story from one perspective in this month’s edition of Connect. Bizarrely, and not a little irrationally, there aren’t many more divisive topics in Jersey than cycling. You can stick it right up there with where to put a new hospital, should dogs be allowed off the lead on beaches, or whether east or west is best.
In Jersey today, you are either a bike fan or a bike hater; but we are going to have to grow up a bit, as it's difficult to see a realistic solution to our transport issues, without more cycling being an important part of the solution.
One local bike shop has done its bit by investing in major new high-street premises at a time when most retailers are heading online; they’ve done it, because they believe with the right combination of services, they can solve some of the obvious problems which cyclists face.
Others, such as the amount of kit kids need to take each day, will need the help of schools; and more showers in the workplace lie firmly under the control of employers.
You can read their story on page 14; clearly, cycling isn’t going to be for everyone - but can it be made better for more people? Yes, and that will need an attitude change, as drivers realise that every bike they slow down (a little, temporarily) for, is actually one less car on the road.
Enjoy reading their story - perhaps you can then help the island to avoid the ‘bumper-to-bumper’ glimpse of the future we have been enjoying in St.Clement.