30 January 2007

There goes the neighbourhood

For the nearly 9 years we’ve lived in Airlie Beach, Eric and I have enjoyed bragging about how far away the nearest traffic lights were (150 km south and 300 km north, in case you’re wondering). Alas, no longer. A few months ago, a set of lights was installed at an intersection by our new shopping centre, and just a few weeks ago a second set of lights went in near the old shopping centre (opposite the primary school). Both sets of lights are, in my not-at-all-humble opinion (and in the opinion of many others in the area) quite unnecessary. The traffic problems they are intended to solve could have been dealt with in other ways, more in keeping with the laid-back ambiance of this area. In July, while in Broome (a town at least twice the size of Airlie Beach, which copes with similar crowds of tourists during part of the year), I noted that there are no traffic lights. A few intersections would benefit from a roundabout, but otherwise they seem to be doing just fine over there—as indeed we were here too. I am thoroughly disgusted by the way our local government handled this. I had been looking forward to joining others in protests against the lights, but each set was put up while I was out of town, so I missed the opportunity to put my rusty protesting skills into action.