Letters & Opinion

Make Traffic Management a Top Priority

By C. Prospere

Traffic management is the organisation, arrangement, guidance and control of both stationary and moving traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists and all types of vehicles.

An appropriate systematic traffic management system is essential for safety and smooth traffic flows on roads.

Radio 100 recently aired a programme on Traffic Management lamenting the absence of any evidence that the authorities responsible had command over the situation. This issue was mentioned again during the programme ‘Let’s Talk Law’. So it is obvious that Traffic Management is of serious concern to a majority of Saint Lucians.

Therefore, it does not surprise me that there is general acceptance that the authorities at the wheel are fast asleep.

A drive from Marisule to Castries, which is approximately four miles takes 30 – 45 minutes. Marisule to Gros Islet another four miles on average requires thirty minutes on any average day. Castries to Jacmel needs one hour thanks to the Cul De Sac road/Bridge construction.

This has a negative impact on the Island’s productivity as too much time is lost trying to navigate from point A to point B.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force seemed bereft of an action plan to redress the decline in Traffic Management around the City and along the highway to Gros-Islet.

Why can we not see a Policeman/woman conducting traffic at peak times along the Jeremie/Peynier  street junction: Bridge/ Brazil street junction; Jeremie/Bridge street junction; Mongiraud/Hospital Road junction and the Micoud/Bridge Street junction?

Why can we not see a mobile Policeman/woman along the Gros Islet (Julian Hunte) Highway? Are the traffic Policemen/women only enabled to address traffic accidents? Do we need Robo Cops?

A supposedly reputable Engineer suggested that there were forty-one exits along the Castries Gros Islet Highway. Can the experts review the current situation where vehicles turn right at the Windward Island Gases Gap, the  Computer World junction, the Pastoral Gap and right out of the Windjammer Gap.

The Ministry of Transportation through one of its representative claimed that there were over eighty thousand vehicles registered with the Ministry. If one assumes the Ministry is collecting two hundred and fifty ($250.00) per vehicle annually, we can assume revenue collection of twenty million dollars ($20.000,000) Surely there can be an allocation or part thereof to provide the resources to the police force to improve traffic management.

Why do uniformed policemen/women ignore traffic congestions around the city? Sometimes a Police Vehicle is in the convoy of the congestion but would not ‘serve and protect’ the motoring public.

Motorists are seen openly flaunting the traffic laws with aggression and disrespect. We have become a lawless motoring public. The motor-bikers in some instances can claim law-breaking points in this regard. The Mini-buses have now become a regime on its own, lawlessness prevails on some of the bus-routes. There is open aggression, road rage, traffic indiscretion and pure ignorance on our roadways.

Then there are some drivers who are reckless and speed unnecessarily causing accidents along the highways. Surely a mobile Police Units can reduce the incidents of speeding along the highway. Ask Shaft and Robo Cop how they corrected the situation.

There are police disciples riding bikes in a group around the city with one of them being armed. Can someone advise the motoring public as to what purpose they served traffic wise?

Compounded by the absence of Traffic Signs in some places in and around the Castries City, the rule becomes ‘who reaches first goes’ and ‘get out the way if you can.’

It is of note that the Traffic Department is located along the John Compton Highway. The department obviously see no evil and hear no evil.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is in hiding on traffic management but are very present in conducting Traffic Checks. I experienced three stops in seven days. One in Soufriere, one in Jacmel and the other in La Croix. When I shared this information with the female officer, I was told “good for you, expect some more.’

Traffic signs can give you important information that can ensure your safety and the safety of those around you and awareness of road rules can lower chances of accidents. Some junctions have no traffic sign, so drivers intimidate other drivers.

Add to that is the ineffectiveness of the traffic-lights system around the City, we have complete chaos at these junctions.

Some motor- ways have been reduced to single-lane traffic. For example, along the Guesneau- Forestiere Road, there is about half a mile of a lane occupied by vehicles derelict and/or otherwise. The same is manifested along the Old Victoria Road, Rock Hall Road and the Jacmel Road. In all these cases the roadway is reduced to single lane traffic. Is the Police Force powerless to address these situations?

Finally, but not exhaustively, when the Ministry is undertaking road repairs/rehabilitation, can someone take responsibility for advising the motoring public well in advance to facilitate planning the use of alternative routes. This is a simple Public Relations exercise. Nationwide is setting the example with a good display of Traffic Management on the Gros Islet Highway. Maybe C.O Williams can take a page from Nationwide.

The Radio 100 programme appeared to have had little impact on anyone in authority.  The ‘Lets talk Law’ comments might also get ignored. Can we move away from our comfort zone and address this traffic management before more people die on our roads? One life lost is too many!

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