Traffic jams on back streets
By Janelle De Souza Tuesday, July 17 2012
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Go slow: A police officer monitors the flow of traffic proceeding west and east along Tragerete Road at the Roxy Round-about as a new traffic plan too...
Many commuters from Port-of-Spain travelling into St James were pleased with the reduction in time to get to their destinations, while others believed Government simply moved the traffic jams from the main roads to the back streets.
The new traffic arrangement by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure began yesterday with Tragarete Road and Western Main Road becoming one-way for west-bound traffic, while Ariapita Avenue became one-way for east-bound traffic.
Taxi drivers and commuters said there was much less traffic going into St James, except at the Roxy roundabout.
Traffic was two-way along Tragerete Road only between Long Circular Road and the roundabout.
There was a back-up of traffic because drivers from Long Circular Road around the roundabout towards Damien Street to head to Port-of-Spain were not giving the drivers heading west on Tragarete Road a chance to proceed.
It was noticed that while there was some traffic jam on Tragerete Road between Colville and French Streets there was a free flow after French Street until traffic backed up at the roundabout.
However, after passing the roundabout, the ease of flow continued into St James along the Western Main Road.
However, some commuters and motorists expressed concern about access to transport and places to park along Western Main Road during peak hours.
A Carenage resident, who has a daughter attending Mucurapo Girls’ RC School on Western Main Road, said there were many schools in the area and was concerned about parking to drop off children when school started in September.
She also said, since maxis and taxis have no set route she was concerned about the children’s safety if they had to cross busy streets to get to their schools.
Commuters and motorists entering St James from the west have to turn off at George Cabral Street and proceed east on Patna Street to Long Circular Road or along Church Street to Bombay Street and Delhi Street to access Long Circular Road to reach the Roxy Roundabout, along Tragerete Road to get on to Damien Street.
A resident on Church Street said, she was concerned about the many senior citizens living on the street with too much noise and fumes from vehicles.
The street was always a popular route for motorists trying to bypass traffic on the Western Main Road. However, yesterday it became a main road heading east to Bombay Street. “Previously the traffic was bad but now it’s too much,” she said.
A driver on the St James route told Newsday that many drivers were boycotting for the day to avoid congestion and teething problems. “There was a bit of confusion on some streets but the police handled it well. There are a few things they still need to iron out,” he said.
The driver said there was much confusion at Patna Street and Long Circular Road. This was caused by the motorists heading to Maraval, between 6 am and 8.30 am, using Long Circular Road, in addition to the Diego, Carenage, Petit Valley drivers using Patna, Kathleen and Dehli to get on to Long Circular Road to proceed to Port-of-Spain.
A maxi-taxi driver from Petit Valley said he almost “got lost” trying to get to RBC at Bournes Road, St James. “I know of drivers who feel they are being inconvenienced and I think they will want to raise their fares,” he said.
The traffic plan also seemed to affect several businesses along the Western Main Road.
A doubles vendor at the corner of Brunton Road, close to Universal Bar, said business was a little slower than usual because motorists could not stop. However, many parked on the side streets and came out to buy.
At Freddie’s Bakery, Western Main Road, business was slow. According to a supervisor, Monday mornings at the restaurant and bakery were usually very busy with persons going in to buy breakfast and pies. However, she said, yesterday was “dead” because no parking was allowed on Western Main Road during peak hours.
“People cannot stop off to buy bread or have breakfast. It is an inconvenience for workers because they had long walks to get from Church Street to the Main Road. Many workers ended up arriving late because they did not know the routes the taxis would take,” she said.
The supervisor also said, outside the peak hours, deliveries in St James and environs would be a problem. She observed that people were depending on signs to tell them where to go, but up to 7 am signs were still covered and some persons got out of their vehicles and removed the coverings to see what they said.
A worker at Kristina’s Shoe Store said business was slow because persons could not park and there were a “few close calls” with accidents; with motorists driving toward the Western Main Road to proceed east towards Port-of-Spain unaware that it was one-way. Other motorists honked their horns to prevent them from going further. She also noted that many motorists were speeding on the roads now as the Western Main Road had become “like a highway.”