These are just some of the comments and complaints made after speaking with friends and other drivers.
For those of us who drive on a daily basis will recognize that many of these remarks are true. I donâ€™t believe this traffic situation will change and may even grow to create greater inconvenience; one of the many things we must accept and live with here on our tiny nature island.
However, there are more serious concerns than just rush-hour traffic and no parking in town – which has continued to escalate and puts us all in danger, drivers and pedestrians alike. Now that cell phones seem to have taken over, have you noticed how many one-handed drivers are on the road nowadays, because their cell phone is firmly clasped in the other hand? Have you also noticed how many are distracted from driving sensible as they engage in cell phone conversations?
Iâ€™m sure there are those us who have narrowly missed being involved in a collision as a result of a cell phone driver pulling out in front of you, or almost neglecting to stop as youâ€™re crossing the road? In most European countries and many American states hand held cellphones are now illegal, and for good reason. Perhaps that would not be such a bad idea for Dominica.
Drivers (especially drivers) are not the only guilty party that put us in danger. More and more pedestrians are crossing the road anywhere! Some neither look left nor right for moving traffic; some take all the time in the world before they can cross road; and again users of cell phones seem to lose track of where they are. Others attempt to use the designated pedestrian crossings, only to find drivers ignoring them.
It seems we have become a nation of people unwilling to demonstrate respect and courtesy to others. I am curious to know how often the Traffic Department makes a survey of what is needed relative to these situations.
Then we have bus drivers, transporting passengers from to and from their homes, who stop wherever and whenever to pick up and drop off passengers; give no regard to how much interference and inconvenience this might cause to moving traffic. Iâ€™m sure many of us drivers, if not all, have gone through this experience more than once and in different areas of the town!
But with the ever increasing number of cars and drivers on the road; there is no immediate solution to this traffic situation, particularly at peak hours and on heavily travelled streets. Can anyone help us? Because it’s apparent the police canâ€™t handle the situation.
Many of the issues: congestion, and discourteous and distracted drivers, occur all over. Unfortunately, part of the problem has been actually exacerbated by the government powers over the years. Of course, it started with the poor planning done by the earlier colonial powers (the British, but particularly the French) who laid out the city.
Subsequently, it has taken too long to realize that one needs a highway that bypasses Roseau but allows access/exit to the capital. Therefore, those who have no business for the capital, but are passing in that general direction need not add unncessarily to the traffic. Hence, for example, the Roseau bayfront project, commisioned more than 15 years ago, should have extended to a bridge across the river, back then. I understand that some of this (traffic outlet) is now being addressed with a bridge near the stadium.
Then you have the stadium itself. One does not argue that that multi purpose complex was desirable, but certainly not smack in the middle of an already crowded capital! Any modern planner would have to consider parking, security, and vehicular access as not only very important for such a facility, but also how it even impacts the vicinity in the big picture. I would want to think that the Planning Division was not asleep but perhaps powerless in the clutches of the political machinery.
Now you have the serious problem of parking. Like everywhere else, road users do not want to be inconvenienced by parking far from their intended location. What I do know though, is that Dominicans are probably not keen on paying for parking at this time, but paid parking alternatives can help some of the parking concerns. For example there could be parking meters and multi-story car parks. Even when the fuel price was twice what it is now, there seemed no stopping to the congestion and travel (which makes me think that the authorities should aggressively encourage establishment of parking meters and parking garages as a partial solution).
Of course there could be better traffic enforcement, (which could also bring more revenues to the city). But I am afraid that: first the laws are not that rigid (or unenforced) regarding traffic issues, and of course the police will say that they have limited resources.
Then there is the whole question of decentralization. Clearly more needs to be done. There needs to be availability of services to people in rural areas, such that it minimizes the need to get to the capital for traditional goods and services. Of course the limited population size and economies of scale poses a problem, but in some instances businesses and government simply continue doing what they have been used to, maintaining the status quo. A little outside the box thinking can help.
Make no mistake: the task regarding the traffic issue which will be more difficult as more Dominicans are now enjoying better access to transportation like never before. And like many urban issues, the solution comes requires a broad approach. There are some solutions that effective urban planning and traffic engineering and even environmental standards could help with, but planners most be bold enough and the political directorate must accept the proper technical advice and not just take the politically expedient route.
😯 too see such a beautiful country pack with all these cars and no one does nothing for it this country needs new laws and new police officers so people wont be given a hard time…
I’d be happy to provide some advice and information based on what we do here in Bermuda. Can you let me know if there’s anyone I can contact to discuss initiatives that might help Dominica.
P.S. How many vehicle to you have in Dominica?