In the one year since the Darrel Bradley led council was elected - Belize city has gone through lots of traffic changes.

It's been a tough 11 months, but also gratifying as potholed streets have been transformed into first class concrete roadways.

But more than just transforming the streets, the council has been trying to regularize the flow of traffic - and that meant eliminating the pedestrian crosswalks at one of the city's most persistent bottlenecks - the Belcan roundabout - or Flag Monument, as it is also known.

It's a major change for pedestrians - and Monica Bodden found out the logic behind the move:

Monica Bodden Reporting

For the first time since it was built 16 years ago people are using the pedestrian overpass.

But that's only because they are being forced to - after the city council removed the pedestrian crosswalks when they cement-paved the first 100 yards of the northern highway.

Press officer for the Council explained the new changes.

Kenny Morgan - Public Relations Officer, City Council
"Well really, the removal of the crosswalks is for the safety of pedestrian, and of course to facilitate the smoother flow of traffic into and out of the city, especially in the rush hour, in the early mornings, and late evenings when persons are commuting into and out of the city. We like to take this opportunity to urge citizens as much as possible to utilize the overpass. It is there for their protection and safety, and it will be very unwise of us to wait for a traffic fatality or some serious injury to happen before people decide to take it seriously."

And while the overpass should be a suitable alternative - many pedestrians seemed insistent on crossing the way they did before - even if it means hopping across or walking another 300 feet to get around the barrier which the city council has erected in the median.

Kenny Morgan
"Well definitely, we're looking at getting the statutory instrument passed that will give the City Council the powers to prosecute persons who violate the crossing of the highway. As you know, it's now the Phillip Goldson Highway. It has been renamed, and we definitely cannot afford to have citizens continue to fly in the face of the law. Again, I will reiterate that it is for the safety and protection of all Belizeans, both the motoring public, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. And right now, we are looking at a proposal to erect a 4 - 5-foot high chain link fencing all the way from the overpass, down to the first roundabout, to discourage persons who are still in the practice, as we have seen lately, of getting off the buses a little further up the road from the usual bus stop, and then they still try to cross the road. It's a very dangerous, and unsafe practice, and we're doing all we can to get the citizens to seize and desist."

While it should ease the flow of traffic - this morning at rush hour - the condition was the same as it ever was. But that's likely because Freetown Road is still under construction.

Kenny Morgan
"We like to push into the heads of people that the overpass, the opposition at the time it was built, did a very good job of discouraging people from using, and that somehow has sunk into the psyche of the Belizean people even to the point of putting their own safety and physical well-being at risk. People are still reluctant to use it. We have received some complaints from persons, especially elderly persons who visit the Mercy Clinic in the area, and for those persons who have physical difficulties and handicaps, and have problems going up the ramps, we urge that the utilize the crosswalk that runs from Save U, across to the Farmer's Market, go around from the Atlantic Bank cross, and then make the crossing to the clinic and other areas in that vicinity. But for everyone else, come on, it's for our benefit, for our use, and let's face it. When we visit Chetumal or other places in the US, everybody uses the overpass, and the tunnels. Why is it that we have a problem doing it in our own home?"

And as a further deterrent, the Council plans to build a 4 to 5 foot high chain link fence from the over pass to the first round-a-bout on the Northern Highway.

Channel 7