Friday, January 19, 2018

St James residents willing to accept new traffic plan


consultation: Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald addresses residents.

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THE Western Main Road will remain open to two-way traffic under the new traffic plan proposed under the St James Improvement Committee.

However, many of the streets north and south of it will become one way. The plan was presented on Thursday night at a meeting at the St James Amphitheatre.

Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald said that while she had to make an assessment of the plan she was satisfied with the process of consultation which has taken place in the formulation of this plan as opposed to the last plan which was eventually scrapped.

"The last plan was sprung upon my constituents. In this plan there was a meeting, a proposal which was presented to the constituents last night, we tweaked it, it would go back and changes would be made. It would then come back to the constituents who will go through it again before any implementation is done." McDonald said.

She added that there was flexibility and leverage in this plan even after implementation, in the event that there are things which her constituents did not like.

McDonald said what was also good about this particular plan was that the flow of traffic on Western Main Road will remain two-way while some of the streets north and south of it will be one way.

"Some of these streets need to be one way," she said, adding that when people park on the roads it greatly affects the flow of traffic, which is going both ways.

She said the meeting Thursday night lacked the "hostility and aggression" of the July meeting (when the previous plan was discussed).

"People had open minds because they were consulted and nothing was being forced down their throats," McDonald said.

She stressed that the plan was drafted by the St James Improvement Committee after looking at the traffic conditions in the neighbourhood.

Earl Crosby, president of the St James Improvement Committee, said the committee presented the plan to the residents.

"More or less, the plan was accepted but we are having some discussions on it, but we feel this traffic plan could work."

He said two particular streets are going to be one way but it has not yet been decided in which direction. Those are the streets around Long Circular Mall—Delhi and Patna streets.

Asked when the plan is most likely to be implemented, Crosby said that decision rests with the Ministry of Works. However, it was his understanding that the Ministry wanted to implement the plan as soon as possible.

"It may not be done all at once but maybe implemented on a phased basis," Crosby said.

Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing, who was a key player in the last traffic plan, was not at Thursday's meeting. It is understood he is in the Bahamas.