A Service Station under siege

I wrote to the press recently commending the RGPF Traffic Department for the efficient roll out of their traffic diversion plan for the town of St George. An arrangement that was deemed necessary due to the commencement of the Sendall tunnel physical works project.

This time I am making a plea to the powers-that-be to try to get our vehicular traffic operations under some semblance of control. I am a Grenadian citizen who spends a considerable amount of time driving on our roads.

Motorists frustrations are mounting on a daily basis. We have more drivers and vehicles using our limited road spaces now. This circumstance is further aggravated, because there seems to be no order, no discipline, and no one in charge or paying heed to the daily misuse of privilege, and the selfish practices that are perpetrated on a daily basis by some drivers on our roads.

Besides not giving signals or using their rear view mirrors, some drivers today stop anywhere at any time, with total disregard for anyone else’s right of way. I can only assume that some drivers have a special dispensation given to them by someone in authority to completely take control of our roads for their own personal conveniences.

Bus stops are passe. Individuals step out of their houses and stand at the side of the road, the shortest distance from their homes, knowing fully well that the buses would pick them up anywhere they find them waiting.

A glaring example of the existing traffic problems, is the chaotic tie up that takes place on a daily basis at Otway’s service station at Paddock. First of all, I cannot imagine how the beleaguered owners of that establishment continue to carry out their business operations. Their service station has been turned into a bus terminal.

The gas station is bracketed by both the Lagoon and the Springs top road, now a freeway used by buses that ply up and down the service station’s connecting road whilst hawking their fares. They sometimes park on the top side entirely blocking all entrance/exits.

I know the police are aware of this deplorable situation, because I heard them talk about the problem on the radio, months ago. Yet there is not a single police officer assigned at Otway’s to assist motorists and would be users of the station’s services, with the continuing inconveniences caused by the bus takeover.

Whilst driving towards Belmont recently, just as I was abreast of Otway’s gas station a bus stopped suddenly in front of me, right on the corner, with not a bus stop in sight. The conductor alighted, casually walked across the main road to stand at the top of the service station’s connecting road to solicit fares.

Meanwhile, there was a steady flow of traffic coming down the Paddock road towards town, so I had no opportunity to go around the parked bus that was blocking me as it sat comfortably domiciled on the corner with its engine switched off.

I waited for about five minutes that seemed like twenty, then, given a lull in the traffic stream I pulled alongside the bus and vented a bit strongly, perhaps, with the driver. He in turn vented right back, as was expected, and gave me a do something about it look, which he knew I could not fulfill.

He was right on this score, because I am not a uniformed official responsible for traffic control, and I carry no legal authority. What I do have is a right to enjoy free and unencumbered access to, and way of passage on, the public main road. Hence this letter.

I understand we have about 7-800 policemen in Grenada. But their visible presence is scant. I am not privy to the force’s allocation roster for their manpower distribution, but we need to see more uniforms on the streets. Maybe stepped up motorcycle patrols?

Noticeably, there is one officer on duty at Long Wall and one at the top of Young Street calling traffic. I assume there are a number of officers based at the Parish stations and on other assignments. But how many? Can we not spare a few officers, even if only at rush hour times, in the a.m. and evening, for an hour or two to assist with, and to address the existing confusion that is apparent in the form of congestion and driver delinquency taking place on our roads?

The officers can be assigned to known traffic arteries entering the town, for e.g. Lucas Street/ Carenage/Western main road, and at Grand Anse, where there are many business places, hotels restaurants/banks/the main road to the airport etc.

I have no personal beef with bus drivers and their operations when they are working hard to earn a living. But it must not be at the cost to and frustration of other road users like myself.
In a civilized society it is not enough to have laws. These regulations have to be adhered to. There has to be an effective compliance element in place to control the proverbial herd. When regulations are ignored, someone has to be penalised.

I would assume that the RGPF traffic control department is responsible for traffic control on our roads. If so, Mr. Commissioner, please react firmly. Because we need some help out here.

Roger Byer

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