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Traffic woes

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Sunday, 15th June, 2008, was match day for Vincy Heat against Canada in the first leg of the second round of the CONCACAF ZONE OF THE 2010 World Cup Qualifier. As a result, traffic on the main Windward Highway to Arnos Vale was suspended, as motorists were diverted to the narrow, tortuous Villa Fountain road to merge with the Mesopotamia traffic and the Kingstown traffic that entered via the Roundabout. {{more}} The Vigie Highway had never been overwhelmed as it did on that hot Sunday afternoon Patrons on their way to the games had to accept their fate as vehicles moved at a snail pace. The match started promptly at 3 o’ clock, and some passengers who were travelling by vans left the vehicle to walk the rest of the way to the Arnos Vale Playing Field. Some drivers turned around perhaps to go back home, while others waited out the traffic jam. It took almost 40 minutes to reach in the vicinity of Rent and Drive and by that time football might have been far from the minds of some of those who were on that route.

Emergency Route

I have no doubt that the police did what they were instructed to do, but the inconvenience and the hassle which persons were put through were unnecessary. No one gave thought to the fact that persons would make their own private arrangements for parking. The reason that was given for taking such measures was the need for an emergency route. As it turned out there was no mammoth, rowdy crowd to deserve the stern measure. It, therefore, means that ordinary Vincentians were put through the stress and strain for another day, notwithstanding their week day trauma.

Management of the Roundabout

This brings into sharp focus the issue of the management of the Roundabout and the effects of the road building project. Motorists have been enduring tremendous stress and strain on a daily basis since last year August, on account of the road works in the Arnos Vale area. I know that the workers also suffer a certain degree of inconvenience of building a road while it is being used but it is nothing compared to the pains of the public from the tar, dust, pot holes and delays. With the road building project, a ten to fifteen-minute run from Villa to Kingstown has become a one hour run.

The Roundabout has been a burning issue for a long time. It was designed to enable the traffic from the Mesopotamia and the Windward areas to merge on its way to Kingstown. For years motorists know that they would have to spend at least thirty minutes creeping along between 7.15 a.m. and 8.15 a.m. on week days. Many drivers, especially van drivers, avoid the delays by taking the Villa Fountain road to Belair and back to the main road at Mitsubishi. They know that they are given preference over all the rest and this is why they take the chance to go through the troubles, but their actions cause further delays for users of the Windward Highway. It is not unusual to have stops of ten or more minutes as vehicles make their way to the Roundabout. One gentleman told me that he experienced a stop for twenty five minutes. If this traffic is allowed to move at a fair pace then there would be no need to scramble across the back routes to get ahead of the traffic. The Windward traffic should be given top priority in the traffic confusion on mornings. Think about the waste of productive time and petrol at a time when the price of petrol has reached $14.00 a gallon. If the authorities would do nothing, then the least I could suggest is that you use your time productively- make up your grocery list, put on your make up (ladies), sort out your bills, take your mind off the traffic. Don’t get road rage while you wait!

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com

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