Bring or­der to down­town chaos

Jamaica Gleaner - - @ISSUE -

This is an open let­ter to Kingston Mayor An­gela Brown Burke. I RE­QUEST that you look into the is­sue of pedes­trian com­fort in down­town Kingston. I walk along the roads in Pa­rade and nearby – from Dar­ling Street in the west, to Duke Street in the east, and Hey­wood Street in the north, to Ocean Boule­vard in the south and think to my­self, ‘What a big mar­ket!’

Ven­dors have bul­lied their way into the walk­ing space of the pedes­tri­ans. Pedes­tri­ans are left to walk on tip­toe and duck un­der hang­ing ob­sta­cles on Beck­ford, Or­ange, Princess, Barry, and West and King streets be­cause of ven­dors who have oc­cu­pied the walk­ways, ac­cess to which they al­legedly pay the KSAC. The side­walks and streets them­selves are filled with blouses, skirts, shoes, sheets, pil­lows, phone cases, ground pro­duce, fruits, etc. This forces pedes­tri­ans to walk in the road­way and risk be­ing run over by speed­ing Ja­maica Ur­ban Trans­port Com­pany buses or li­censed and un­li­censed hand­carts be­ing pushed against the flow of traf­fic.

Her Wor­ship, the ven­dors dis­pose of their garbage right where they sell, pos­ing the risk to pedes­tri­ans slip­ping on plas­tic bags or skin peels from ground pro­duce. The ramps de­signed for hand trucks and wheel­chairs have been cov­ered with tar­pau­lins dis­play­ing slip­pers and other goods, pos­ing ad­di­tional prob­lems for the al­ready chal­lenged.

BREED­ING GROUND FOR HOODLUMS

Taxi driv­ers park and pick up pas­sen­gers any­where and ev­ery­where, mak­ing a mock­ery of the no-park­ing sign and wors­en­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion in the al­ready crowded town.

Your Wor­ship, the lack of or­der and clear walk­ing space have fa­cil­i­tated a breed­ing ground for hoodlums prey­ing on un­sus­pect­ing pedes­tri­ans and cus­tomers. As it nears the fes­tive sea­son, the num­ber of road­side ven­dors will mul­ti­ply ten­fold. In ad­di­tion, some ven­dors are hos­tile and vi­o­lent and are armed with knives and ma­chetes that are not only used for co­conuts and mel­ons.

Ven­dors have been al­lowed to oc­cupy the side­walks for years, hence it seems im­pos­si­ble to re­move them. The cat-and-mouse be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal po­lice and the ven­dors is not ef­fec­tive. Some­thing more is needed.

Will the vend­ing area at the in­ter­sec­tion of West Pa­rade and West Queen Street, in front of St Wil­liam Grant Park, which was de­stroyed by fire some years ago, ever be re­opened? Is there an area for taxis to drop off and pick up? Is the li­cens­ing of hand­carts per­mis­sion to be­come a nui­sance in the town? HEZEKAN BOLTON h_e_z_e@hot­mail.com

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