Implementation of the new traffic management plan for Woodbrook and St James begins today, and many streets that previously allowed two-way traffic have been converted to one-way.
These include major thoroughfares like Ariapita Avenue, which now flows eastbound into of the city, and Tragarete Road, flowing west out of downtown.
But, motorists need not fear making that wrong left turn off Colville Street (now just northbound) onto Ariapita as they head for lunch because police and traffic wardens will be there to make sure the transition is smooth.
"Officers from the Western Division mounted and canine units; and motorcycle units from Traffic Branch will be out in full force to direct the public," Police Service Public Information Officer ASP Joanne Archie said yesterday in a telephone interview.
The plan is just in its experimental stage with a three-month trial period. It will be made permanent if it proves successful.
The objectives, as stated on the Ministry's website are to:
• Reduce travel times
• Improve mobility for public transportation and private vehicles
• Minimise "near misses" and accidents
• Control roadside parking
• Increase capacities (vehicle volume)
• Facilitate travel demands into and out of Port-of-Spain
• Lessen conflict points
• Prepare for future travel demands
"No one has made an attempt for a long time to streamline and reinvent or reengineer the traffic management in and out of the city. We are looking at fundamental changes to what people have known over their lifetime. When such changes take place people are always apprehensive, but if you take time to understand it you will be fine," said Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing yesterday via telephone.
Lee Sing said he was "optimistic" the plan will work out well, and had visited the areas early yesterday and was pleased to see the Ministry putting the final touches on signage and other features to facilitate the transition, with the Ministry assuring him everything was "right on track".
Lee Sing advised motorists: "Keep the plan and maps close by, so if you make a wrong turn you can get back right. Take your time to understand what is written. Don't try to hustle it. Just follow the flow of traffic and you'll get to your destination faster than you will have in the last 20 years," he said.
The new plan might alleviate traffic congestion, but it won't alleviate parking tension.
"If you park in the wrong place you will be wrecked. There are signs now telling you where you can park," Lee Sing added.