Parking at a premium in downtown Belize City
It's not the first time we've tackled this story ... And it will certainly not be the last. But it seems like every day it gets a little bit harder to find a parking spot in downtown Belize City. Today, with a new council firmly installed in City Hall, I checked to see if a solution is in sight.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
The distinct lack of parking spaces in downtown Belize City can make some drivers do strange things. Every day in the old capital reveals some new act of desperation, like stopping in the middle of the street ... and by the way, putting on your hazards won’t help. Others simply squeeze into places that test their parallel parking abilities.
And a large number of motorists just pull into red zones and cross their fingers that they won’t find a dent ... or more likely, a ticket when they come back.
Whether it’s Regent Street, Albert Street, or North Front Street congestion and frustration rules Belize City.
Dale Trujeque, Advisor, Belize City Council
“There is a problem with congestion in the downtown area. There is a problem also with the cyclists and the movement of large number of pedestrians.”
According to special advisor, Dale Trujeque, the Belize City Council is currently meeting with city planners to determine ways of alleviating the traffic situation.
“We are trying to deploy the entire Traffic Department out there, we are trying to minimize the checks on the road so we can have more personnel out there to deal with the issues that will arise, and we will try not to be very stringent with people when it comes to parking.”
“We are talking to our officers and we are asking them to be aware of people moving in and out and to give them a little break so they can go and do their businesses, because a lot of people are not going into the downtown area to spend a lot of time in the stores.”
And for those store owners who have put saw horses and other obstructions to stop parking, Trujeque says the council is researching the legality of that tradition.
“We have not discontinued the practice, but we are not continuing it either. Essentially, it’s suspended until we’ve had time to look at it closer. ... We are going to talk to all the stakeholders involve before we do anything that will affect them, whether substantively or negatively, we want to talk to the people about it.”
The City Council says it will also be talking to the owners of parking lots in the downtown area in an effort to convince them to offer private spaces to the public.
“We would like that, because when you look at the situation in the town, the flip side of it is that a lot of the parking spaces, a significant number of parking spaces in downtown area are used by the employees. Public parking areas are used by the employees of the businesses, which doesn’t free up these spaces for customers. And you know, you can’t do your business if you can’t make the customers park and come and shop. So da wah hand wash hand kind of thing and we are just hoping people will remember, be considerate, be courteous with each other during this time. If we all give each other a break, we are all going to get where we want to go.”
Since the dismissal of Michael Godoy, the Belize City Traffic Department has been headed by Kevan Jenkins, the former coordinator of traffic.