Some well-known businessmen who have been operating in Speightstown, St Peter for decades are demanding that Government halts its plans to make a number of roads in the northern city one-way.
On Monday during a press briefing at the Speightstown Esplanade, Austin Husbands, Clement Armstrong and Ian Griffith said they were upset about how the changes were being implemented without consultation.
They said the process was not handled in a democratic manner and expressed their dissatisfaction with the Parliamentary Representative for St Peter, Colin Jordan, for not including them in the decision-making process.
“They have to rethink this one, those two no entry signs that are put there on the exit of KNR Husbands Roundabout onto Chapel Street, they must be reconsidered. As a matter of fact they must be removed. It is nonsense,” said Husbands, who considers himself as a “Speightstownian” having lived near the area for more than 70 years.
Husbands said the new traffic changes were difficult for some motorists to understand and instead of remedying congestion it would make it worse.
“The present proposal is for going through Goddings Alley, which is the worst road in Speightstown and one of the narrowest. It means you now have to exit through the back of Chefette . . . It does not make sense. You are creating a bottleneck on Queen’s Street, the entrance to Goddings Alley, and a further bottleneck for those coming into Speightstown from [the KNR roundabout] and turning left to go Jordans Supermarket.”
He added that he was concerned about how people will access the businesses and the Methodist church in upper Queen’s Street, adding that it will be difficult for delivery truck drivers, going to service businesses along Chapel Street, to turn left onto Goddings Alley travelling in a southward direction.
Husbands explained that he was also concerned that signs and road markings were erected last Wednesday and residents and business owners were alerted to the traffic changes after the fact.
He charged that only a ‘sector’ in Speightstown appeared to have been in on the discussions.
He questioned why people like the owner of The Fisherman’s Pub Clement Armstrong, who has been operating in the northern city for more than 50 years, was not informed about the changes.
Effective Wednesday, March 22 Queen’s Street, starting from the junction at Chapel Street, along with Orange Street and Sand Street will be all one-way in a northerly direction. Goddings Alley onto Chapel Street will remain one-way, however motorists can no longer enter Chapel Street from the KNR Husbands Highway. Major Walk will continue to have two-way traffic and Church Street will remain one-way. There will be no entry onto Sand Street from Highway 1B.
Designated two-hour maximum parking spaces, and 30-minute delivery zones will also be allocated along Queen’s Street, Orange Street and Sand Street.
The purpose of these changes is to reduce traffic congestion and illegal parking.
Owner of Earl’s Funeral Home and IRG Funerals Inc Ian Griffith also said his main issue was consultation.
“You can’t have Speightstown without Fisherman’s Pub, Fisherman’s Pub is Speightstown. So to tell me you are going to have changes in Speightstown and you don’t invite Clement Armstrong into a meeting to discuss anything or hear views, it is wrong.
“It is not right that we should have to face this thing via the news . . . It is clear disrespect of the business persons in Speightstown. We need to have consultation when the ministry is doing such things,” he said.
“It is really ironic that this traffic diversion has come now, where we have seen a number of restaurants coming into Speightstown, especially on the Sand Street end . . . We can’t be foolish about this. If persons are going north and are being allowed to park for two hours, it means it is convenient for those restaurants. Those restaurants pretty much have their own parking lot on the side of the street for two hours, that is the time you need for a dinner engagement at a restaurant.”
Griffith said he was also upset with the representative for the area.
“Our parliamentary representative, I am very disappointed that we have not heard from him in this matter because Speightstown is the heart of St Peter.”
Armstrong said he was also concerned that long-standing business people were not consulted, noting that the changes will not stop people from parking illegally but rather encourage them to park along the road through Goddings Alley instead, to do business at Republic Bank, the day nursery or the Methodist church.
When contacted MP Colin Jordan said he had in fact had discussions with business owners in the area.
“I would have spoken to a number of businesses and also I would have done my own observations and they are definite challenges, which have been voiced by the business people generally on the Queen’s Street stretch particularly where the deliveries [would lead to] congestion [and] with people getting upset and angry and with people doing deliveries and getting reported,” he said.
He explained that congestion was the main concern for people, including vendors plying their trade along Queen’s Street, between Chapel Street and Sand Street.
“I have spoken to a few of those persons and the feeling has been for a long time that a portion of the street should be allowed to be one-way,” he said.
However, the minister added that if the changes needed to be tweaked he was willing to make adjustments.
“Something has been put in place to alleviate a challenge . . . The decision is not written in stone . . . What I propose to do is to see the impact and if there needs to be tweaks, any adjustments, then we will have to make the adjustments.”
Efforts to reach deputy chief technical officer of operations at the Ministry of Transport and Works Philip Tudor were unsuccessful. However, in a press release on Friday, Jason Bowen of the design services department said that the roads in the northern city were narrow and problematic and the new measures would improve traffic flow and parking.