Save downtown from decay, degeneracy
THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) is trying to determine the reason for the significant decline in revenue earned by the metro pound from the impounding of vehicles in the city.
Revenues from every area downtown Kingston would be down not only because there is weaker spending power, but the fact that this is most inhospitable place to do business, walking or driving.
You have to be looking out for car burglars, police, regular thieves, chain grabbers, pickpockets, which now include women, and the predatory wreckers taking away your vehicle.
What the KSAC has not told us is that the contracted wrecker company gets most of the $5,500 cost of retrieving your car. Then there is the hustling that takes place, although it's not so rampant. Your vehicle is towed and the wrecker operator drives away and may wait for you around some corner on the way to the pound to negotiate a lesser fee for a hassle-free release. I am not surprised that the KSAC is making less money.
People are avoiding downtown or just go there on foot. People now shop on the Internet, or patronise Clock Tower Plaza in Half-Way Tree, which is like a compact downtown, although marginally more expensive, with fewer hazards, available parking, and proximity to buses, robots and taxis. Others go to the regular plazas all over Kingston. Portmore residents who regularly shopped downtown now go home, where there is a proliferation of every known type of business.
The long-touted parking-meter programme for downtown Kingston is long overdue. Parking in front of business places must be reserved for customers and not taken up by operators. Some parking spots are blocked off by stones from as early as 6:30 a.m. on Barry and Princess streets and, to a lesser extent, King and Orange streets. If you get there earlier, someone may soon advise you to move. "Yuh can't park yah suh, boss."
'EAT A FOOD' MENTALITY
Downtown is under no reliable security or proper management, just an ad hoc space where everybody is trying to 'eat a food'.
Church Street, below the Pearnel Charles Arcade, is like a ghost town. Businesses are suffering as robbers prey on people and vehicles. There is a house on Church Street, almost across from the old Wonards building, next door to Electronic Spares, which is a haven for robbers. I believe this building is a fire hazard that should be compulsorily acquired and demolished or renovated.
A devalued downtown Kingston needs a coherent, holistic plan to save it from further degeneration into chaos, disorder and economic decline.