Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams wants bicycle racks placed in Bridgetown car parks to encourage City employees to ride to work as a means of alleviating parking challenges and promoting better health.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative and Christ Church East candidate also wants incentives offered to attract businesses back into the City and urgent restoration work done to save the old Supreme Court building.
Abrahams made these recommendations today as the Senate discussed a resolution for vesting in the Central Bank of Barbados, land at Church Village, the City.
“We have become victims of our own prosperity. Everybody in Barbados aspires to own a vehicle,” he said, contending that Barbadians use their motor cars to go even short distances.
“We in Barbados need to ride bicycles more. For those who live in the vicinity of Bridgetown, you should not be getting a bus into Bridgetown. You should be riding a bicycle into Bridgetown. Every car park in Bridgetown should have a facility to chain your bicycle.”
He said the dual benefit of cycling to work is that buses would not be overloaded for short trips, and those who live close by will overcome traffic congestion.
Additionally, he said riding to work was part of the sustainable behaviour needed in Barbados to maintain health and wellness.
He urged that the idea floated years ago of prohibiting cars from the City be encouraged, and said that with the wonderful Barbados climate, restaurants should be allowed to place dining tables onto the sidewalks.
“It is almost a no-brainer that we should encourage shaded outdoor eating,” Abrahams told the Upper House. “When we talk about the redevelopment and revitalization of Bridgetown, let us not simply look at bricks and mortar, let us look holistically at a plan.”
The senator said tax rebates should be among incentives offered to make businesses more interested in setting up shop in the City.
Turning his attention to the old Supreme Court building, which he described as majestic with great historical significance, the attorney-at-law said: “What I find to be disgusting and a travesty is that while we’re restoring the Synagogue, while we’re talking about historic Barbados, we are leaving the old Supreme Court building to fall down”.
He spoke of a pillar supporting the verandah that broke last year. “Then another pillar broke. Then the roof started to sag, so it became only a matter of time before the eastern section of that verandah collapses entirely. Now, with the weight pulling on the verandah, the south has started to sag and crack,” he said.
Abrahams predicted that without urgent restoration work, the roof of the verandah, “will not last out to the end of this year”.
He said that instead of remedial work being done to the structure, the nearby parking area was blocked off to protect cars against the eventuality of the verandah collapsing.
“It is a stain on us when that building collapses,” Abrahams said.