ELIZABETH GONZALES and NICHOLAS MARAJ
The Port of Spain City Corporation will not resume wrecking cars in the capital until the end of June, for logistical reasons.
The corporation was expected to restart wrecking on June 21. It had been suspended since the start of the covid19 pandemic.
Drivers now have an additional week as Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez told Newsday the police were not ready as yet
In the corporation's statutory meeting in May, Martinez said the corporation would use one wrecker during the first month to ensure there was no overzealous wrecking. The objective, he said, was to encourage drivers to follow the law and reduce congestion throughout the city.
But on Monday, when contacted for an update on the restart of wrecking, Martinez said, “We have some logistics to work on. We anticipate getting it restarted at the end of the month.
"We are going to have a meeting on Thursday to iron out the logistical issues.”
He said since the announcement, there has been a slight, but noticeable change in the behaviour of drivers.
“It appears people are starting to understand we need to maintain law in the city with regard to parking. Indiscriminate parking has caused issues and people realised we have to correct this. Some people have made the adjustments already, but there we would always have those who would want to take chances.”
In downtown Port of Spain despite the availability of parking lots, drivers still violate the traffic codes by parking in no-parking zones, marked by signs with a diagonal red line against a blue backdrop – some with additional restrictions on days and times.
Multilevel parking at the Parkade and Furness car parks, both with exits on Richmond Street, were expected to alleviate the parking woes of city commuters. Drivers still prefer to park on both sides of the street, blocking driveways, reducing the traffic flow and causing serious congestion during the day.
At last month’s statutory meeting Martinez raised a concern brought to him by private car-park owners that fewer people are willing to pay for parking spaces. Martinez believes this is happening because wrecking has been suspended.
Up to Monday one attendant at the Citi parking lot, Frederick Street, said there had been a drop in customers.
Originally, a majority of her customers were lawyers and their clients. But now many court cases are heard virtually, business had declined.
The wreckers used by the corporation are contracted and police usually work closely with them to determine which cars are in breach of the traffic regulations and should be wrecked.
Traffic Branch Snr Supt Wayne Mystar could not be reached for comment.
Downtown Owners and Merchants Association head Gregory Aboud told Newsday he will release an official comment on the return of wrecking on Wednesday.