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Jun 28, 2000

Parking problems on Hudson Street

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Just after 8:00 this morning, our newsroom was flooded with phone calls from concerned citizens, in particular, those who work on Hudson Street. The callers complained that the U.S Embassy in Belize had blocked the entire street preventing them from finding parking. The taxi drivers who operate in the area told News Five that the barricades have forced them to find an alternate base and their business has been affected. When News Five arrived on the scene we did observe the white “saw horses”, but they were lined up along the length of the street as opposed to in the middle of the road. While vehicles were prevented from parking in front of Uncle Sam’s building, workers in the area had no choice but to use the space available on the opposite side of the street. According to a release from the U.S Embassy, the barricades were installed in cooperation with the Belize City Council for the safety of pedestrians in the neighborhood including students, visitors, residents, workers and the people who come to the embassy to apply for visas and other consular services. Ambassador Carolyn Curiel says the neighbours support the measures taken saying the move will help clear up the congestion that has made Hudson Street a very dangerous place. City Councilor responsible for traffic, Danny Madrid, says the move was done to improve safety and is part of a beautification project the U.S Embassy has promised to fund.

Danny Madrid, Councilor, Traffic

“A lot of people use that street certainly when they are visiting the U.S Embassy for visas and the students from Saint Catherine’s Academy also uses it. The idea is safety first and also to beautify Hudson Street. Where the saw horses are right now will eventually be cement planters to beautify the area an the other side of the street where the drain is, there is no walkway there they will be installing walkways, making the street wider so that traffic will be able to pass.”

Jacqueline Woods

“But I don’t understand that, how will that make the street wider, wouldn’t that narrow the street more?”

Danny Madrid

“No, the plant is very small. The drain where it is right now, if you noticed you can’t walk on the right hand side of the street because of the drain and there is an extra space. Well okay that extra space will be used and the drains will be covered and there will be more space for vehicular traffic to pass. The street will also be redone over. It’s a safety programme the U.S Embassy is doing and they put up the saw horses to we could look at the situation to see what the public thinks about it, it’s not that they are infringing or doing anything wrong. They are doing it in cooperation with us, the Belize City Council.”

Jacqueline Woods

“So that means no longer will parking be allowed on Hudson Street?”

Danny Madrid

“Yes, no longer will parking be allowed on Hudson Street.”

Jacqueline Woods

“So will parking space be made available?”

Danny Madrid

“There is parking space available. The U.S Embassy has its own parking facility and the Belize City Council has its own parking lot on Hudson Street that nobody uses. Everybody prefers to park on the street because we are charging fifty cents an hour and people don’t want to pay for the facility. But there is a facility, there is a parking lot on Hudson Street, fifty cents an hour and it could be arranged by month, a week or whatever by the persons who will be affected.”

Presently the parking lot holds up to thirteen vehicles. It is not certain when work on the project will get underway. Meanwhile, the U.S Embassy has donated three new SUV’s to the Ministry of Agriculture. The vehicles will be used to inspect medfly traps throughout the country as well as fruit to be exported. Presently the Mediterranean fruit fly or medfly threatens to harm Belize’s fruit crops. The SUV’s are valued at $120,000 Belize dollars and were purchased by the U.S Department of Agriculture.

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