Progress brings problems is as clichéd as it is true, and Belize City residents have been pushed up close to that truth with the ongoing works on streets. But while inconvenience and congestion are problems, they are short term problems. Parking, or lack of access to parking, isn’t so short term and isn’t so easily remedied. The streets in the city are being cemented, which is good. But they’re now narrower, which is bad, at least for motorists. Mayor Darrell Bradley says that where parking is concerned, some of the decisions they’ve made haven’t exactly been the brightest.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“I indicated this to the public on several occasions that both the City Council and the B.T.B. who is doing infrastructure works in this area of Belize City around the environment of the Memorial Park. The vision with the master plan is to create a more pedestrian-friendly city. And so for example in front of the city council headquarters you have seen extended sidewalks to allow for more pedestrian traffic. We are doing Church Street; that’s almost finished—that’s going to be finish by the end of this week—and you will see that we put eight feet wide sidewalks along Church Street. We are doing this same design along King Street. We have taken in Mule Park because it is turning into a sidewalk. Battlefield Park as well. It is a whole pedestrian plaza. So that part of the master plan involves the pedestradization particularly of the downtown and that will naturally involve the lessening of parking spaces. Of course we realize that every single stakeholder including drivers are entitled to their use including parking. So we are trying to moderate what we do. Several areas, we have taken out the parking. We are revisiting those things because for example in Freetown Road, we instituted a policy of one side parking. We did that also on Barrack road. Several of the businesses complained and what we are doing now is that we are doing some focus groups and we are meeting with our traffic advisory committee to see if we could change some of those policies to give back more of the parking especially in non-essential areas. So some of the decisions we have made I will admit are not the brightest of decisions and all of the things that we have done are under review at all times so that it accords with what best practice is and also with the will of the people so that we accommodate all concerns.”
The Mayor says that they have been receiving complaints from businesses where parking is concerned, which certainly comes as no surprise.