WE face many problems that defy simple solutions, because they are multidimensional and interrelated, and therefore require a carefully planned and strategic approach. Such problems also require coordination, good judgement and interdisciplinary input. For example, the uncoordinated grass cutting along the roadside introduces new problems of roadside obstruction, litter, and drainage issues.
Equally vexing is the ongoing failure of successive governments to curb the problem of littering, specifically caused by plastic bottles, which culminates in significant public expense for dealing with floods, and clearing blocked drains. The misuse of parking spaces within the city is another gaping problem. Reserved parking spaces and empty mini-buses occupy extensive sections of the street. If we had suitable alternatives such as a bus terminal or a park-and-ride facility, large numbers of parking spaces could be instantly freed for use by shoppers to stimulate economic activity.
For that reason, it was uplifting to read the commentary “Parking meters — A Good Idea” by Pat Brown in the Weekend Voice of Saturday 15th October 2016. Mr Brown discussed and quantified some suggestions for raising revenue, reducing traffic, and improving the availability of parking spaces particularly in Castries. Although I disagree with several aspects of his proposals and reasoning, the discussion of the problem is encouraging, since it is a first step in resolving the problem.
In my opinion, the author did not go far enough in his analysis to eventually arrive at the solution, which he described as the installation of parking meters. For example, some short-term free parking may be a useful catalyst to stimulate shopping activity. Any ideas to improve congestion should be welcomed, if only to encourage further debate that could converge on a better solution.
The use of ICT is helpful in analysing changes to complicated systems, by modelling or simulating the environment to precisely determine the impact of particular changes. As an undergraduate student and also as a doctoral researcher I constructed simulations to model and investigate changes to systems.
Presumably something similar was done when our one-way traffic system and our street parking arrangements were designed. Is it time for a change? You be the judge. Even without extensive training or an ICT background to run high-level simulations, you could use your intuition. The next time you are sitting in traffic, wondering why a relief road is so congested, maybe you should consider alternatives. As long as we accept dysfunction as the norm, it will never change.
To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The Voice.
About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design and research.