In a controversial move that has angered many island residents, the Tiperon Islands Public Works Department has begun painting center lines on both the Caribbean island’s roads.
“This is a matter of public safety,” Public Works director Dusty Rhodes said. “We have what, maybe 24 miles of road on Blacktip? Just because they’re not paved doesn’t mean they don’t need stripes.”
Island residents disagreed.
“It’s a waste of time and money,” long-time resident Payne Hanover said. “There’s, what, a dozen cars on the island? They’ve managed to dodge each other so far without center stripes.
“And these are dirt roads. Drive over the paint a couple times, they’ll be gone. Hell, a good, heavy rain’ll wash them away. What happens to public safety then?”
Local authorities could not immediately verify the hazard posed by the island’s current, stripeless roads.
“Vehicles do cross the center of the road all the time,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Don’t know that causes many accidents, though. Unless they cross the road and keep going.
“Most auto accidents on Blacktip are single-vehicle affairs, with the vehicles ending up in the sea grapes or the booby ponds.”
Despite the controversy, some locals support the plan.
“Not striping these roadways resigns our island to Third-World status,” said Stoney MacAdam, owner of MacAdam Paving. “Blacktip Island’s as much a part of the 21st Century as any place else. Do the roads have center lines in your country? Then why shouldn’t the roads here have center lines?”
“It’s Colonialism, pure and simple,” Public Works’ Rhodes said. “Expats move here and want to keep this island a backwater. Well too bad. This striping project’s already creating local jobs. Will the rain wash the stripes away? Sure. And when it does, we have the workforce in place to repaint them. No one complains about us replacing downed power lines after a hurricane do they?”
Other residents voiced concern about the impact the project will have on the island’s fragile environment.
“That paint’s highly toxic. And this is the rainy season,” said Blacktip Audubon Society president Nelson Seagroves. “That means potentially repainting the roads every day. That’s a boatload of paint killing our reefs and marine parks. Killing our birds. Contaminating our water supply.”
“A project this size, you have to expect a few loses,” Rhodes countered. “These folks are a bunch of nervous Nellies who don’t know what’s good for them. They’ll thank us soon enough.”