From today, a new traffic plan comes into effect for San Fernando in an effort to alleviate perennial congestion.
This plan would see the reversal of traffic flow on Penitence and Mon Chagrin streets from the main shopping centre on High Street. Traffic which normally flow from Harris Promenade, down Penitence and across High Street into St James Street, will now flow up Penitence from St James Street and left onto High Street.
The flow on Mon Chagrin Street will be changed from left into St James to High Street, to left from High Street and left onto St James Street.
Encouraged by what he sees as the success of traffic arrangements which went into effect two months ago, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said he has studied the plan and is certain it will work.
Regrello said there is a lot of congestion at the High and Penitence streets intersection, when vehicles have to stop on High Street to allow vehicles to cross the road. He said traffic is often backed up to the Promenade and Lower High Street as a result.
“With the new arrangement, vehicles exiting Penitence Street would now be able to turn right onto High Street and make a left into Mon Chagrin. If you drop off someone to do business at one of the two banks at this intersection, First Citizens or Scotia, and there is no place to park, the driver could make a block by going down Mon Chagrin, left onto St James, another left onto Penitence and one onto High Street. Before you would have had to go all the way up High Street and turn either on the Promenade or on St James Street.”
This system was first initiated by former Works Minister Jack Warner but reverted by former Mayor and now Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein. He said the decision is a culmination of ideas from various stakeholders including taxi drivers.
Regrello said the plan would be reviewed in two weeks’ time. Regrello said he intends to address the traffic congestion caused by parents picking up and dropping off children at Naparima Girls’ High School, which has a student population of close to 1,000.
“That is a nightmare,” the mayor said added that he once stood at the foot of the hill one evening and in a short space of time counted over 300 vehicles going up the hill. He said this creates a back-up on the Vistabella Main Road and Circular Road.