Letter to the Editor: Traffic in San Pedro

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

To the Editor,
Letters-to-the-EditorWe have vacationed on Ambergris Caye for several years. We really enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the island and the friendliness of the people of San Pedro. To us the one of the most appealing aspects of the island is the absence of large resort hotels and tall buildings. Restricting development would allow San Pedro to remain an attractive destination for tourists who can perhaps pay a little more rather than becoming a low cost, high volume budget vacation destination.
Over the last several years San Pedro has developed from a back-packer destination to a destination that attracts a variety of middle class tourists. We are part of that group and fortunate enough to be regular repeat visitors. Positive headlines about the island shown up in International Press and as a result more and more people are becoming aware of this island paradise. As a result higher income tourists have also started to make the island their regular vacation destination. It would be hoped with this influx of vacationers that the island would continue to develop in a reasonable manner with smaller reasonably sized boutique type developments.
San Pedro atmosphere used to be clean, attractive, safe and full of charming locals. We have always felt appreciated and very welcome here but are concerned that things are changing.
We had hopes that town would be able to deal with the issues that come with growth. However based on our recent visit I am not confident that this is the case. The most glaring example is the town’s increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic. At times we felt unsafe. Whether it was stepping out of a shop directly into the traffic on Front Street or being passed by numerous speeding vehicles on the roads both north and south of town. Also parking is unorganized and seldom available. It is now unsafe and somewhat unpleasant for tourists to stroll through town. This will ultimately impact on the volume business at the shops in town. There are very few walk ways or safe areas for pedestrians to move about in town. It seems that vehicle drivers and taxi operators have taken on some of the less desirable attributes of those in large cities. We encountered several rude and inconsiderate vehicle operators.
When tourists should be able to enjoy shopping by safely walking through town, they find all types of vehicles such as beer trucks and delivery trucks blocking roads and creating unsafe conditions. Unchecked, the current state of traffic and parking in town will only get worse.
As a result we spent less time in town this year and probably spent less money supporting local businesses.
We think that it is essential that the town act now by engaging a consultant with the expertise required to deal with the traffic and parking issues that come with increased growth. Our fear would be that without changes that the island will not see the prosperity that it deserves and that it will become a mini Cancun with all the issues that come with that. Our hope is that the island will remain the charming exclusive destination that it is. Not a high volume, low budget, all-inclusive resort town.
Randy and Jody Edwards
439 Middleton Way
Coldstream, B.C.


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