Parking meters to be installed on Barrier Reef Drive
Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
In a few weeks, island residents can expect to start paying for parking on Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street). The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has begun erecting parking meter posts along this busy street. The project, per the SPTC, is to alleviate the traffic congestion downtown, which has become an issue in San Pedro.
There were no public consultations for the project, but many islanders have noticed the parking meter posts installed along Barrier Reef Drive for weeks. Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez stated that the downtown area has limited parking space. Most days, it isn’t easy to find places to park. The Mayor said that such congestion also affects traffic flow, and it is time to address the ongoing situation.
“Regarding parking, we want to put the parking meters on the front street. The company partnering with us should be putting them up sometime soon,” Nuñez said. “Afterwards, we want to open a parking area inside the Saca Chispas field when not in use.” According to him, the parking at Saca Chispas will include hourly, daily, weekly, and even monthly packages. The Mayor explained that this parking space would not be available during large events at Saca Chispas. Motorists will have the option to use the current parking space next to the Artisan Market. Another plan he shared is that parents who need to drop off their children at school can park for an hour at Saca Chispas at no cost.
Mayor Nuñez could not confirm if the parking meters accept coins and/or card payments. He said the public would be notified when they are installed. They also plan to have personnel monitoring the parking to ensure the system works and fees are paid. Anyone living along Barrier Reef drive or owning a business on the said street can visit the offices of the SPTC if they have a question regarding parking. Taxis can only park in their designated areas, such as those by central park. Golf cart rentals must keep their carts off the front street or use (pay) the parking meters to keep them there. The SPTC said the parking income would be used to continue upgrading the street network on the island and other relevant projects.
Many residents have pointed out that one of the factors associated with traffic congestion has been the importation of vehicles and golf carts to the island. Mayor Nuñez mentioned that this was an issue his administration inherited and was getting out of control. He said that with the help of the current traffic board (traffic control committee), they have been able to control the situation better. He noted that the traffic board is now vetting the importation of vehicles to the island and working with the town council to tackle the traffic issue in San Pedro.
However, other island residents believe that vehicles continue to be imported. According to the SPTC, one of the requirements for importing vehicles to the island is for replacements. Otherwise, an applicant must justify bringing a vehicle to the island.
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