More than seven years ago, during the previous administration’s term in office, it was decided that there was a need for regulating the flow of traffic in the Ovals community. The streets in that neighbourhood were considered dangerous as drivers found them difficult to negotiate.
After making the determination that the streets in Ovals were essentially too narrow to accommodate two-way traffic, the authorities decided that it was necessary for certain changes to be made in order to alleviate what had become unsafe and treacherous driving in that community.
The problem was further compounded by the fact that the neighbourhood is considered an extension of the shopping area of downtown St John’s and also home to many different types of businesses. Also, the public market borders the community and access to that facility is generally gained through those very narrow streets therein. So every Saturday morning, the streets of Ovals are rammed to the extreme, overflowing with both moving and parked vehicles.
The fact remains that the streets in Ovals are always bustling with traffic moving in and out of the city. And with the difficulties that exist because of the lack of parking that plague the city, many of Ovals’ streets are being regarded as the solution to the problem.
The streets are barely able to contain two vehicles without touching each other so utilising one lane for parked vehicles seriously curtails the movement of traffic. As a consequence, many times, drivers are forced to reverse an entire block in order to make clearance for an oncoming vehicle. This is not only dangerous, but frustrating as well. There have been occasions where fights have broken out because one driver refuses to attempt the precarious feat of reversing approximately 40 or 50 yards to get to the corner and allow the other vehicle to continue on its way.
Traffic has been brought to a standstill on numerous occasions due to the frequent accidents that occur on those narrow streets. Something had to be done and done quickly before it was too late.
The previous administration came up with a solution that caused residents to breathe a sigh of relief. It was decided that all the streets in Ovals would be designated one-way traffic. The nation was informed that there was a specified period for motorists to acquaint themselves with the new rules and regulations before the changes would be implemented.
However, as time elapsed without any change, residents were left to wonder about the continuation of bi-directional traffic throughout their neighbourhood. And as no traffic signs had been erected, drivers maintained their old habits and persisted on using the streets of Ovals as they had been doing from since the time that the community came into existence.
Inquires were made at the Transport Board and the response was that in the absence of street signs, the new regulations could not be enforced. It was further explained that no money was available to embark on the process of putting the necessary street signs in place, and as a result, up until this day, nothing has been done.
Of course, the traffic woes still exist in Ovals and accidents, fights, snarled traffic and scrambling for the limited parking spaces are the order of the day. What was considered and viewed as a wonderful plan, and marvelous solution to a perilous and life-threatening situation has been swept under the rug without any care and regard for the people of our nation.
That current state of affairs has led us to call on the authorities to make the finances available for the performing of such an essential task.
Could it be that the good folks at the Transport Board have forgotten about the proposal regarding traffic in the community of Ovals? Is it a matter that no money can be found to dedicate to the purpose of erecting the required signs in that neighbourhood?
In the meantime, drivers continue to speed through the intersections within the community because there are no stop signs to indicate which line of traffic has the right of way. Pedestrians continue to get hurt because they dare to attempt to cross streets at junctions that should have had signs. Vehicles are still parked along the narrow streets inhibiting the free flow of traffic. Motorists continue to have distressing experiences as they attempt to negotiate those constricted streets of that community. And, with more and more cars using the roadways daily, things will only get worse on the streets of Ovals.
When we compare the cost of erecting traffic signs in that neighbourhood alongside the possible consequences of not doing such, it becomes obvious that it would serve the best interests of the nation if those requisite were to be installed before it is deemed to be too late.