Translation Press release OLB
In mid-November, 2019, Bonairean residents participated in the Master Plan 2030 Conference. More than 200 Bonaireans took part and provided input during the 3 day conference. The active participants were mainly representatives of organizations, foundations, associations, entrepreneurs and civil servants. Involvement included active participation and also online participation where many residents discussed and commented on the many published speeches, press releases and live broadcasts on TV and radio.
The most common reactions were positive about the goals and plans concerning Bonaire’s future, but were doubtful about their actual implementation in a timely manner.
One of the topics most viewed and discussed was SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND MOBILITY ON BONAIRE. Below you will find the translation of the OLB Press Release concerning the urgent matters that have bothered and infuriated most of the residents and island guests for many years according to online social media comments and discussions, road and traffic safety.
SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND MOBILITY ON BONAIRE
Translation Press Release OLB
Infrastructure is something that constantly occupies the minds of the residents on Bonaire. It is also something that we, as the government, have been working on for quite some time.
Traffic master plan Bonaire
In 2011, we compiled the Bonaire Traffic Master Plan with the support of the municipality of Breda.
This master plan provides a strategic vision for road safety and is the impetus for an integrated mobility policy on Bonaire. The master plan proposes improvement measures in the short, medium and long term and a focus must be put on a number of components in the coming years to improve road safety. A project program has been drawn up for this as a first step. The master plan also provides a tool for the government to make choices so that sub-plans can be worked out in more detail. The master plan is a growth document and is intended to achieve a higher road safety level in the future.
The master plan does not stand on its own. It will have to form part of an integral Bonaire Strategic Development Master Plan.
The Bonaire traffic master plan then forms the tactical framework for the development of projects and sectoral traffic policy. The master plan is made up of problem analysis, future perspectives where the structure image is built, accompanying policy for the preconditions and a project program for the period 2012-2025, in which the work is plotted in time and priority.
Traffic master plan Bonaire - Problem analysis
The traffic on Bonaire is dominated by the car. There are virtually no separate facilities for slow traffic (pedestrians and bicycles) and there is, in fact, no organized public transport system.
There is currently no clear categorization of roads with associated design principles. Car traffic runs the island, including freight traffic. All this can lead to road safety or livability problems concerning the neighborhoods.
Road safety has decreased over the years. It was recommended to update the road traffic regulation which has now been done. The implementation of this takes place in phases. The master plan lists a number of themes:
10. Freight traffic and supply are not regulated;
11. There is no question of a bicycle culture;
12. Parking, in particular in the center of Kralendijk, must be better organized;
13. The current public transport system is not satisfactory;
14. Enforcement must be improved;
15. Traffic flows due to increasing car ownership is becoming an ever greater problem;
16. Lack of infrastructure funds. There is insufficient reflux of resources from land revenues to infrastructure investments;
17. Tourism is the backbone of the island economy. There is insufficient space for cruise tourism in the center area of Kralendijk;
18. Road maintenance is a challenge. The technical condition of the roads is poor to very poor and because the drainage is not well regulated and heavy trucks drive on the roads, the road constructions suffer considerably and there are insufficient funds for a maintenance budget. There is also no structural maintenance cycle. The motto is: rather tackle one road well than three half.
Traffic master plan Bonaire – Course determination:
The master plan focuses on better structure of traffic. Now traffic is everywhere, even in the center, which means that it cannot develop well as a residential area. There is no clear structure. A clear structure is proposed. The area access takes place on the edge of the central area, there are only a few neighborhood access roads and a bicycle structure is introduced.
Traffic master plan Bonaire - Flanking policy:
Flanking policy will have to be a precondition for making the new traffic organization possible. Attention will have to be paid to:
• Public transport;
• Functional road management;
• Sustainability of mobility;
• Introduction of sustainable safe/road categorization;
• Monitoring/traffic counts.
2011-2025 implementation program:
The implementation program has 4 policy programs:
7. Road safety;
8. Livability and accessibility;
9. Flanking policy;
Projects and activities are mentioned with their planning for each policy program. The focus for the coming years is primarily on the road safety and livability and accessibility programs. A fundamental part of this is the updating of the traffic legislation on the island.
The priority is road safety, in addition to updating traffic legislation. This involves updating traffic legislation and maintaining roads. Bonaire is facing a major challenge and the motto here is Focus!
Bonaire bicycle plan
One of the components of the accompanying policy of the Bonaire Traffic Plan, the Bonaire Bicycle Plan, was also compiled in 2011 and is aligned with the Bonaire Traffic Plan. The bicycle plan has been compiled with support from the University of Twente.
Bonaire wants to focus on sustainable development. Hence the initiative of this conference. Cycling offers a green and healthy alternative; it can lead to less car traffic, attracts nature tourism and contributes to more physical exercise and therefore a healthy lifestyle.
In the bicycle plan a strategy has been formulated based on research to arrive at a solution and to stimulate bicycle use. A prioritization of solutions has been established. The bicycle plan must be implemented in phases in order to spread the costs and to gradually change the mentality of the population towards cycling.
The recommendations from the Bonaire Bicycle Plan are:
6. Rapid implementation of the bicycle plan in view of the sharp increase in car ownership and traffic;
7. Improving road maintenance related to the road safety of cyclists;
8. Stimulate bicycle purchase and maintenance with possible incentives;
9. Enforcement to protect cyclists;
10. Encourage recreational and sporty cycling for local people and tourists.
Both the Bonaire Traffic Master Plan and the Bonaire Bicycle Plan state that special attention must be paid to the maintenance of the roads on Bonaire. It cannot be said often enough. This is particularly important for road safety.
Long-term maintenance plan for Bonaire roads
The most important step we have taken is to make an inventory of the technical maintenance status of the roads on Bonaire in 2012. This inventory was updated in the first half of 2017. An engineering firm made an inventory of the existing road network which consists of 212 km of paved roads and 130 km of unpaved roads. During this exercise, road inspections were carried out in accordance with the CROW guidelines and construction drilling was also carried out. From there the roads are categorized in the condition of the road (1 to 5) and maintenance measures and costs are determined.
This resulted in a required investment of approximately US $90 million over a period of 10 years (2017-2026) whereby all roads are brought back to the desired quality level. An enormous task, the financial resources of which are lacking and the question is whether the market can handle this maintenance demand.
The government has drawn up a Long-term Maintenance Plan for Roads Bonaire 2019-2023, which has approached the Netherlands for a financial contribution for its implementation. This plan costs US $18.5 million and is based on a renovation of 15.2km roads.
With this implementation plan the focus has been on roads with the worst quality (a5) and a balanced geographical distribution on Bonaire has been chosen. This is to maintain the support of the population and to see that in every neighborhood the quality of the infrastructure is gradually improving.
The roads are designed for a design life of 25 years with which the roads can last approximately 80 years when performing regular maintenance. It is now important to incorporate the maintenance task into design and specifications so that the market can get started. Of course, we will ensure quality from the government by fulfilling our role in supervision and management.
Roads around schools
In addition to regular road maintenance, the government has been working on improving the infrastructure around 3 schools on Bonaire. There are unpaved roads that lead to a health risk for our students and teachers, an unwanted situation. For this, one time money from the Netherlands has been made available. The tender is currently running and the contractor is expected to start work at the end of November, 2019. The implementation will take approximately 6 months.
Involvement of the Netherlands
Intensive contact with the Netherlands took place during the process of establishing the maintenance and implementation plans. The implementation program has been assessed and reviewed by a Dutch engineering firm and the plans have been determined and budgets allocated. This amounts to a one-off contribution of 3.0 million euros for infrastructure around the schools and a structural contribution of 2.75 million euros for regular maintenance. The other required costs are reserved in the long-term budget of Bonaire itself (US $400,000 own contribution and US $137,500 annually for building up a reserve for maintenance).
In addition, our government works together with the Dutch municipalities of Rotterdam and Alphen aan den Rijn to share knowledge and, based on partnership, continue to work on professionalizing the Directorate of Space and Development and further rolling out the desired sustainable infrastructure on Bonaire.
The original schedule needs to be updated based on the actual decision making and availability of funds from the Netherlands. The plan is to commission the infrastructure around the schools in the 3rd week of November, 2019. The tendering procedure for this is currently ongoing. For the 1st phase of the multi-year maintenance program maintenance roads Bonaire 2019-2023 will be commissioned for the technical preparation of the work. The quotation procedure is currently ongoing. The neighborhoods that fall in this 1st tranche are Nikiboko/Belnem /Tera Cora.
We are positive that the Netherlands will also grant our request for the remaining part of the funds for the Bonaire 2019-2023 Road Maintenance Program, 11 million euros.
This will then mean that the funds for the entire 4-year program are secured.
In the meantime, we are also looking further into opportunities for Bonaire and innovation in the field of infrastructure.