SAN FERNANDO'S traffic problem is as bad as Port of Spain's, and it is hurting Christmas sales.
This according to president of the San Fernando Business Association Daphne Bartlett who repeated her call yesterday for additional parking to be provided in the city.
Bartlett said, "We are plagued with the problem of parking. We have absolutely no place for our shoppers to park and that is a deterrent for shopping. Business is very slow.
"People are complaining that they can't find a place to park, so they are going where they can find a place to park, which are the malls."
She said, "We have asked for the parking area in the administrative complex (University of the West Indies Teaching Hospital) to be opened, and we have asked the Minister of Local Government to look into that. And maybe by Monday we should have that car park open."
Bartlett added, "The Port of Spain business community has complained tremendously about their wrecking and parking, and that is being addressed. I think a similar concern we share and we expect it to be addressed very shortly. The government should do whatever they can in their power to provide parking for each city and community for public convenience."
San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali said there was little the San Fernando City Corporation could do about the parking issue at this time, but he agreed with Bartlett that parking spaces could be made available at the UWI Teaching Hospital's building at Chancery Lane.
He said the long-term measures would be to have multi-storey car parks in the city.
Muradali said, "In the short term, we opened up Short Street to move the traffic out of High Street and unto Pointe-a-Pierre Road. We have also been working with Traffic Management, the Route Three Maxi Taxi Association and the traffic wardens to devise a plan to encourage persons to use public transportation as much as possible when coming into the city centre."
Muradali said central government will have to make the decision on whether the building at Chancery Lane could be used for car parking.
Bartlett said sales were on a decline and hopefully within the next few days leading up to Christmas Day, sales would increase.
She said, "We are aware that the recession is on. There is no doubt about it. We have calculated for the decline in sales, but not to this extent. All the merchants are saying that sales are down." See Page 12 Opinion