Does Saint Lucia have a traffic management plan which caters for both stationary and moving traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists and all types of vehicles?
We have been told that when it comes to the staging of events, like the jazz and arts festival for instance, the traffic department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force does have such a plan. But how effective then is that plan? It is safe to say that that plan was not as effective as it should have been, when last week’s jazz and arts festival moved to the Pigeon Island National Landmark.
Our focus on traffic management is in light of what transpired last week on the northern road corridor during the jazz and arts festival’s nightly shows at the Landmark. Also in focus, is time lost in traffic when a simple vehicular accident occurs on that stretch of road, which ties in with the aforementioned question.
What transpired last week as patrons head to the jazz and arts festival nightly shows was simply chaotic. Motorists were waiting on that road for more than two hours, hoping to get to the Wednesday and Friday nights events in time to see something. ‘Madness’ was the one word which aptly described what took place on the road both nights. Was the traffic management plan put into effect these nights, or were there factors which skewed the plan and made it unworkable?
A traffic management plan is not only to provide for the safe, orderly and efficient movement of persons and goods, but to get traffic to flow quickly and smoothly as possible.
Having seen the magnitude of the crowd, over the years, that attends shows held at the Landmark we wondered whether, this year, organisers overlooked the volume of vehicular traffic converging at the Landmark.
If indeed organisers did spent time deliberating on a traffic management plan for the north of the island during the short life-span of the festival, then clearly, they need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan for next year’s festival.
It is bewildering that for a country, which for more than two decades have been handling huge crowds at the Landmark, can’t affect a traffic management plan today that is devoid of the type of bottlenecks experienced last week.
We take this opportunity to bring to the attention of the authorities that be the poor state of road signage and delineation. Road edges without markings merge with the earth in too many places, which could easily cause a driver to go off his/her course during night driving, particularly when facing an oncoming vehicle with high beams on. Drivers could easily deal with oncoming high beams if road edges are properly marked with the luminous white paint, hereby enabling them to judge where the edge of the road ends and the earth begins.
Another issue is the proliferation of vehicles on island, which outpaces the road infrastructure to support them. This is a recipe for traffic congestion, which is an issue the authorities are presently dealing with, apparently without much success, the evidence of which we see almost on a daily basis.
And when this happens, this is what follows:
Short comings in Saint Lucia’s economic and infrastructural development, increases in greenhouse emissions, productivity hours lost, even our health suffers as frustration sets in having to wait in traffic.
Introduction of the park and ride idea is good, but it must be vigorously pursued by the authorities as Saint Lucians tend to park their vehicles meters from a venue they are entering.
We hope that traffic efficiency is not something elusive for our traffic managers, even though a non-serious vehicular accident along the Castries/Gros Islet road corridor causes traffic congestion in quick time.
To our traffic managers: Remember, that as more and more people settle in Castries, Gros islet and surrounding areas, there will be a corresponding increase in vehicles. Therefore, transportation infrastructure must keep pace to avoid traffic congestion. In the Castries basin, this issue is so pressing that we are at a loss in understanding why succeeding governments haven’t seen the need to make it a pressing issue to deal with, or have they?
Please work out the kinks in the traffic management plan you have. This is urgent. Don’t tell us nothing can be done. A 15 – 20 minutes’ drive from point A to point B in the north of the island should not take 45 – 60 minutes. That’s unacceptable!