Sunday, July 21, 2024

Minimal solutions to traffic congestion in San Pedro; authorities asked to do more

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As San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye continues to develop rapidly, the central issue of traffic congestion continues without a proper solution. Many stakeholders on the island have expressed their concerns about this issue, stating that it is out of control and detracting from the appeal that attracts tourists to Ambergris Caye. Although local authorities have been asked for solutions, their responses have not reassured many islanders.
The main problem is in downtown San Pedro, where congestion during peak hours is caused by golf carts and large vehicles, including cargo and dump trucks transporting materials from the island’s northern side to developing areas south of town. This increase in vehicular activity is dangerous for pedestrians, especially students, and threatens their safety. Concerned stakeholders have not heard or seen a concrete solution to this problem, heightening the situation’s urgency.
This issue was again brought up during a public meeting held on May 20, 2024, at the San Pedro Lions Den regarding the town’s expansion. A worried tour guide pointed out that large dump trucks can be heard rumbling through town early in the morning and that it is bumper to bumper in the downtown area by midday. The Area Representative, Honourable Andre Perez, and Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez attended the meeting, but no solutions were shared. However, Perez has acknowledged that traffic congestion is a legitimate concern. He noted that traffic is a problem that the local authorities must address as development progresses with increased construction projects on the island.
Meanwhile, the San Pedro Traffic Department has been redirecting traffic to alternate routes to help alleviate the congestion. They mentioned that the situation is currently chaotic as some alternate roadways, including the San Pedrito Highway, are being maintained or paved. Consequently, traffic through Coconut Drive has increased. When these other streets are open, heavy traffic will be diverted.

Another measure the San Pedro Town Council implemented included a schedule for large vehicles. The regulations stipulate that no large delivery trucks can operate from 8AM to 9AM and 11:30AM to 1:15PM, Monday to Friday, in the downtown area. Moreover, they are not allowed in the area on Saturdays after 1PM. Additionally, large trucks are not supposed to operate on Sundays and public and bank holidays. While many island residents applaud these measures, they have pointed out that enforcement has been lacking, making them less effective than expected and causing continued frustration among residents and visitors.

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