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|Traffic and Turmoil in the Out Islands: Nassau Guardian|
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|Posted by:||Nov 8th 2004, 01:39:44 pm|
I am so glad to see the government addressing the issue of too many big cars and trucks on Briland. Business owners and builders need a limited number of larger vehicles to do their jobs. Mini mokes and golf carts and Mini Coopers are all anyone could possibly ever need on the island. And very few people need any vehicle on an island where one can walk almost anywhere in 45 minutes. Safety and quality of life dictate few cars for Briland. After Andrew they came flooding in as the government lifted almost all duties. After the Girl's Bank fiasco I'm sure everyone recognizes the importance of keeping Briland relatively clean. Broken down cars and trucks do not improve the situation.
|Posted by:||Nov 5th 2004, 06:43:16 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Nassau Guardian
Friday, November 5, 2004
Traffic & Turmoil
Hanna-Martin blames previous governments for traffic woes
By TAMARA McKENZIE,Guardian Staff Reporter
Previous governments were blamed on Thursday for failing "to comprehensively approach and develop policies to correct and control the existing traffic problem throughout New Providence.
Addressing members of the Rotary Club of West Nassau, Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glennys Hanna-Martin said because of such failures, the traffic problem between 6:30 a.m. -9:30 a.m. on weekdays has worsened and the average peak hour journey takes between 15 minutes and one hour. She also outlined that the same journey would take close to four hours to complete in the year 2020.
Quoting statistics from the Ministry of Transport, Minister Hanna-Martin said it is estimated that 70,000 individual journeys are made during weekdays in New Providence alone and if this trend continues, there will be over 140,000 individual journeys by the year 2020. She further stated that current vehicle registration totals 35 vehicles per working day and this number is not sustainable.
According to Mrs Hanna-Martin, The Bahamas is facing a number of challenging circumstances in the area of traffic and transportation, but the biggest challenge lies in New Providence. She noted that with a population of 300,000, some 200,000 reside in New Providence.
Mrs Hanna-Martin told Rotarians that significant congestion during peak hours, coupled with tremendous bottlenecks at strategic points throughout the island, has resulted in enormous economic and social implications for the country. She also touched on the vast number of traffic violations, to which enforcement has proven to be problematic.
The Transport Minister shed light on the existing traffic problem on Harbour Island and Bimini. She claimed that larger vehicles are being imported to these islands and are "clogging up" the narrow streets which are designed for small vehicles the size of golf carts.
According to Mrs Hanna-Martin, a team from Road Traffic Dept. was sent to both islands to investigate the situation. Recommendations for a solution are presently being compiled she said.
"I think that some policy decisions would have to be made, otherwise we would not be able to sustain the quality of life for people on that island, so we are in the process of drafting regulations that would go to cabinet, but on islands such as these, you cant drive big broncos on these narrow, quaint streets that were not designed for this type of traffic.
"We would have to engage in a consultative process with the people who live there. We will soon be bringing forth regulations to deal with these two islands and any other islands that have similar challenges," she said.
Mrs Hanna-Martin said effecting change requires "political will" and a commitment of the public to make disciplined choices for the good of everyone. She announced that The Ministry of Transport and Aviation is currently implementing an institutional, development and strengthening component of the New Providence Transport Programme.
The Programme is one of assistance and is funded by a loan agreement between the government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The initiative will encompass: The establishment of a transportation policy and planning unit, the staffing of the unit with an international transportation specialist and the staffing of the unit with national transport engineers or planners. The unit will also make provisions to provide consulting services and training. The unit became functional this August and it has the responsibility of making recommendations for updating transport policy and carrying out transport planning activities. It will also serve as a vehicle for implementing government policies and introducing new systems and procedures in the transport sector, Mrs Hanna-Martin said.
"The unit has gotten off to a good start and already, a transport action plan has been drawn up and is currently being refined. It contains a number of initiatives which relate to policy and economics, institutional development, road safety, traffic capacity and other related issues," she said.
Hanna-Martin said The Road Traffic Act is also being reviewed in an effort to amend those priority areas of concern and address transport issues in the Family Islands.
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