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Jun 11, 2013

Talking streets with Belize City Mayor

Stories on the street works being done in Belize City are not new, and neither are stories of frustration, congestion, inconvenience and even loss of revenue caused by that work. While the traffic situation has been bad for months, it seems to have reached new heights with the latest round of infrastructural works. It’s not exactly at gridlock level, but driving across the city requires a well thought out strategy and a lot of patience. City residents are unaccustomed to a working mayor and one whose works slow down the commute. Mayor Bradley slowed his personal feverish pace to talk about the traffic with News Five.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The congestion you see here is light compared to some days, when vehicles and tempers overheat because nobody is getting anywhere fast and more streets than not seem to be blocked. It’s a study in frustration, but Mayor Darrell Bradley remains calm in the midst of chaos.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“The cause of that is that we right now in terms of our infrastructure project, we are dealing with what I consider major arteries for Belize City. We are dealing with the Northern Highway roundabout which is the approaches to the Celcan Bridge and the roundabout itself. And whenever you interfere with that and whenever you do any upgrades to that, it is going to cause a block; you cannot escape that. We are also on New Road and North Front Street. And these three projects that we are doing at this present moment, because that North Front Street access is one of the main access connecting the Belama Area and some of the other areas in the King’s Park to the downtown area. When those streets are locked off, it is going to cause a major, major disruption.”

 

Darrell Bradley

To help with the situation, Bradley has beefed up the PR campaign, notifying the public of streets which are closed and posting traffic officers at strategic locations. But even that is little consolation and some of the works just seem to drag on with no end in sight. One of those stagnant spots is North Front Street which is a major artery.

 

Darrell Bradley

“The North Front Street project has been delayed a little bit because there was additional work that BWSL is doing, but the contractor now is doing the other side from Victoria Street and Douglas Jones Street up more to the intersection with the downtown bridge. We are expecting that also to take about another month and these will continue to cause disruption in traffic. We are aware of the headaches that people are facing and we have people out there trying to see how we can ameliorate the situation as best as possible.”

 

And there are these areas on the heavily trafficked Albert and Regent Streets which have been blocked for weeks. Bad planning and a lack of coordination, you might be tempted to say. But Mayor Bradley says there is actually a method to the madness.

 

Darrell Bradley

“There are several things going on there. Certain of the streets that we are taking out; for example the street between…this is Treasury Lane. We are taking out the street between Brodies and Battlefield Park, we are taking out the street between Battlefield Park and Belize Bank and we are taking out the street Belize Bank and Mule Park. But one of the things that I want to communicate and we are going to do more indebt consultations and public relations with this is that that is actually deliberate because what we intend to do is that we see that there is a degradation in downtown and the southern part of Albert Street is becoming an area more prone to crime. And our designers had actually looked at this and we are trying to ensure that there is more traffic that has to go all the way around. And what that will do is of course cost you extra in terms of gas, but that’s deliberately done to ensure that there is more traffic vehicles passing in the downtown so that you would have to go further down Albert Street and also pedestrians going further down there. And the increased people in that area would likely have an adverse effect on the crime situation and you will see that crime will be reduced and of course the businesses would be improved because there would be more traffic in that area.”

 

One of the major changes remains the Battlefield Park which from one day to the next was razed to the ground with nobody knowing what had happened or what would come next. That has been a recurring theme in some of the work across the city which has come as a surprise to most residents.

 

Darrell Bradley

“Everything that we are doing—and people may not be aware of it—everything that we are doing is part of the master plan project for Belize City and that was something that was put together almost three years ago. And the master plan project was done at a time when there was widespread consultation. It was done through the Belize Tourism Boar and it was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank; they had consultant going around, they had public consultations in various schools, they had consultations here. I know because I participated as a citizen in some of those consultations. And they put forward a very good concept and strategic concept for the development of Belize City including traffic flows, including the opening up of several areas that we are doing right now.  It is not that I am following an ADHOC plan, I am following the master plan.”

 

That master plan, the Mayor conceded, is being adjusted and tweaked as they go along. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The entrance to the Belcan Bridge from the Northern Highway was opened on Monday, relieving a significant amount of congestion in the roundabout area. However, the section of the road from Brads Supermarket to Freetown road will now be closed for renovation.

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1 Response for “Talking streets with Belize City Mayor”

  1. Slow Coach says:

    And our designers had actually looked at this and we are trying to ensure that there is more traffic that has to go all the way around. And what that will do is of course cost you extra in terms of gas, but that’s deliberately done to ensure that there is more traffic vehicles passing in the downtown so that you would have to go further down Albert Street and also pedestrians going further down there. And the increased people in that area would likely have an adverse effect on the crime situation and you will see that crime will be reduced and of course the businesses would be improved because there would be more traffic in that area.”

    What planet is this man from? Did he think before he put his mouth into gear and burbled out this ridiculous idea? Like I am sure most people, I will not drive into crime areas – so I will not go all the way down Albert Street, especially at night. So, all the traffic that went down the street between Brodies and Battlefield Park now has to go all the way down the street, obviously His Worship The Mayor has time on his hands and does not mind sitting in traffic in the middle of the day for long periods, wasting valuable gas or diesel (of course he doesn’t have to pay for it does he – so why worry). Don’t get me wrong, I like the way the Council are doing something with the Streets of Belize City, any chance that “Master Plan” can be published so we can all see how good our lives are going to be. Is the bridge over the Haulover Creek at the end of Chetumal Boulevard (which should of gone all the way to the creek and not stopped half-way) and Fabers Road part of the plan. Keep up the good work Mr.Mayor, but it is up to the Police to reduce crime not the drivers and pedestrians.

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