MAKE BROAD STREET fully two-way or reopen Wharf Road fast!
Taxi operators, business owners and even the Police Force are saying the current arrangement, where traffic from Lower Broad Street is being diverted into Prince William Henry Street, while motorists are allowed to drive down Broad Street, is not working well.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Inspector Leon Blades told the WEEKEND NATION the current arrangement was made as an alternative to what the police had originally suggested.
“We thought traffic should have been able to continue to move right up Broad Street like before, which would ease traffic in Roebuck Street, Magazine Lane and Bank Hall.
We respect the Ministry [of Transport’s] decision but we think it needs revisiting. I intend to have further discussions with them and balance all the pros and cons,” he said.
Blades said the changes were made in an effort to create a parallel road to the damaged and closed Wharf Road but it now created more problems as there was pedestrian traffic crossing in Broad Street, Prince William Henry Street, Swan Street and James Street.
A WEEKEND NATION team observed that some motorists opted to avoid Broad Street altogether, resulting in long, slow moving traffic in areas such as Gills Road, Whitepark Road, Bank Hall Main Road, Coleridge Street, Crumpton Street and Constitution Road.
Heroes Square taxi driver Clyde Hayde said he avoided travelling through The City altogether.
“Whenever I get a job, I avoid going through town because I just don’t like traffic. I really thought they were going to make Broad Street a two-way street,” he said.
Fellow taxi driver Carlos Hinkson agreed.
“Since Sunday, the traffic in this area has eased a lot, but it is horrendous coming back from the seaport.
It would make sense for traffic to go both ways on Broad Street with left turns only,” he said.
The men also responded to claims that certain taxi operators were charging more money to take passengers to places such as The Boatyard from the seaport as it was now a much longer trip because of the diversion on Broad Street.
“If anyone charges above the tariff, it is against the law and they should be punished,” said Hinkson.
Hayde said he sympathised with those who may do so, adding: “If I had to go to The Boatyard from the Port, I would need extra [money] too. Gas is expensive,” he said.
However, taxi operators at the Bridgetown Port said they could not charge more than was allowed as they could be held accountable.
One operator, who gave his name as “Dennis The Menace”, said he had not heard of the practice.
Member of the Bridgetown Port Taxi Association, Euston Bradshaw, said the law said taxi drivers had to take the shortest route to a destination, so if the present route forced them to make a longer trip, then he understood why some operators would charge more.
As for the road diversions, the operators expressed dissatisfaction over the current arrangements, with one saying he did not even believe Wharf Road should have been closed.
“If that road was so dangerous, then those businesses on Wharf Road should have been closed too, not to mention there are people still walking on it,” one said.
“That traffic plan is stupidness. They should make Broad Street two-way and let traffic flow. Instead of the turn there by Woolworth [Prince William Henry Street], traffic should have been allowed to travel up to High Street.
“Also, for Christmas, only commercial vehicles and taxis should be allowed in town; anybody not doing business should park their cars and catch a bus,” he said.
Some business owners in The City complained the changes adversely affected them while others said there was no real change in business.
Along Bay Street, some businesses said they were suffering from reduced patronage as many taxi operators did not want to battle traffic to deliver passengers to them, adding that if the work was prolonged they might have to go out of business.