Saturday, June 15, 2024

Parking meters on Barrier Reef Drive still a go


The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is still working out details to launch their parking meter pilot project on Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street) to alleviate the traffic congestion in the downtown area. According to the island administration, there is no definite time to launch the project. Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez said the project is underway, but first, they need to prepare an alternate parking area inside the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Arena (Saca Chispas field). Mayor Nuñez also touched on some factors affecting the parking issue downtown, like golf cart rentals taking up too much public space and adding to the congestion.
This initiative was first announced in March, installing parking meters covering two blocks on the southern portion of Barrier Reef Drive. Some of these meters are not fully intact, and signage is needed to inform of the parking schedules and the rates. Paid parking is 6AM to 6PM for BZ$1.5 for 30 minutes or BZ$3 for an hour. For some stakeholders on this street, the project could affect their businesses. They understand there is limited parking areas; however, they say the problem is that some people park their vehicles on Barrier Reef Drive all day. The concerned businesses operating on this street suggested better monitoring to ensure there is always space available, for example, the tourists who shop around this area. They emphasized the issue of golf cart rentals taking up space, and nothing is done about it.
Mayor Nuñez said it is a pilot project to alleviate the parking issue on the front street. He noted that some islanders park there all day because they work near the area or travel to Caye Caulker or the mainland. He encourages these people to use the alternative parking area prepared at the Saca Chispas field whenever available. “The planning is ongoing, including an entrance and exit area for those using this parking space,” the Mayor said. This parking area will not be available when large events are held on the field. The parking fees will include hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly packages. Taxis can only park in their designated areas, such as those by Central Park.
Regarding the golf cart rentals, the Mayor said they must keep their carts off the front street or pay the fees. “They are not supposed to park their golf carts there but in their garage areas and work from their offices,” said Nuñez. He added that letters were sent to the golf cart rentals reminding them that their trade license states they must work from their offices and not solicit on the streets or points of entry to the island. Nuñez said it is an issue they planned to tackle as it has been taking place for too long. This enforcement is expected to commence after all details are in place for the parking meter pilot project.
The SPTC has indicated that the income from the parking meters will be used to continue upgrading the street network on the island and other relevant projects. Several streets on the subdivisions, like San Pablo, Escalante, DFC, and Marina Drive, are being cemented. One of those projects is to open and service as many streets as possible to expand the street network on the island as the population continues to grow. Currently, the parking meter system will not be extended to other streets of San Pedro downtown.

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