Last week Philip “Faada” Henry raised concerns over the relocation of the Belize City bus stop for the downtown area. The bus stop was moved from near the Supreme Court building to Regent Street West near the canal side. Since then others have raised more concerns over issues of safety regarding the new location. Today, Mayor Darrel Bradley addressed those concerns with the media. He said that the relocation of the bus stop for downtown Belize City falls right in line with the Belize City master plan project and that it complements other aspects of that plan.
“I want to emphasize here that this is not a decision that the City Council just took; the master plan talks about the development of the downtown Belize City and we have certain projects that are mentioned in the master plan and certain projects that the City Council put in there to say that it is important to us strategically; for example, we have a project to renovate the Commercial Centre which is shortly going to commence; we are also going to, because we are mindful of the parking situation, construct a four-storey parking facility in the NICH parking lot which is the city-owned property and we are working with the Supreme Court building to do some renovations there to really bring out the developments for Battlefield Park; as you know, the Battlefield Park is completed and it’s going to be opened tomorrow. There is a lot of projects that are mentioned in the master plan and also projects that the City Council has developed since taking office and a significant part of the master plan talk about traffic flow and traffic management. When we interrupted some of the streets that we did, this wasn’t done ad hoc; we did a lot of analysis to ensure, in-line with what the master plan recommended, that the traffic area would be eased and there would not be excessive congestions. We also did a revised analysis and we have pictures that I will share that show congestion that is caused by existing bus stops so that in some cases you have four or five buses one after the other lining Regent Street in front of the Supreme Court; that is a problem in terms of congestion, it causes traffic interruptions and it is also a security risk for the Supreme Court. When we looked at the best placement for the bus stop it was in line with what the architects and engineers were telling us that it’s properly located along Regent Street West and what we are trying to do is expand the down town where the traditional loop was Albert and Regent; what we want is the new loop to be Regent Street onto Regent Street West and then East and West Collet Canal and then back onto Yarborough and then back on to Regent Street and so, it is a wider downtown and what that does is that it increases the commercial character and the trafficable area. There are some concerns which I find as very legitimate, in terms of security issue, crime along Regent Street West and we need to ensure that that facility is safe. We already have a design, BWS is along East and West Collet Canal and they are almost finished and then they are going to come up along Regent Street West and that area will be cemented and there are a lot of facilities that we are going to put there such as proper lighting, a canopy, benches; we have already engaged with the Police to ensure that there is a police booth along that area by the bus stop to make it very secure. All of these plans are not being done just because of the bus stop; the bust stop is only one of the plans along with the entire downtown redevelopment that we envision.”
Mayor Bradley says that the buses are not being prevented from picking up passengers along Regent Street, but they can’t any longer park there and wait for passengers.