Letter of the day: Too many city marathons
The frequency of marathons in the city has increased significantly to the point where they are now a nuisance to motorists. Since the start of the year, I stand corrected, but I count at least four city runs so far, all taking place in the city centre. By city centre, I mean the general New Kingston roadways, Trafalgar Road, Hope Road and Lady Musgrave Road. These runs/walkathons usually take place on a Sunday morning and impede the flow of traffic.
I will highlight one in particular, but it is the same situation for the others.
The Sigma Run is usually downtown; this year they moved it to uptown. Motorists who were travelling along Trafalgar Road from Guardian Life, heading in the direction of Knutsford Boulevard, were turned back when they reached the stop light at the top of Knutsford Boulevard. I turned on to Braemar Avenue and found my way to the intersection of Hope Road and Lady Musgrave Road and then turned on to Hope Road trying to get to Washington Boulevard for church.
When I reached by Andrews Hospital, heading towards the Devon House intersection of Hope Road and Waterloo Road, other motorists and I were directed to turn on to the road opposite Andrews Hospital, as we were prevented from going straight down Hope Road.
When we reached by the Canadian High Commission, trying to head towards Constant Spring Road, we encountered another roadblock and we were directed to turn right and head in the direction of MegaMart. I was still not sure how to get to Washington Boulevard, as every route I took led me to a roadblock. It was like being held hostage in city centre and not being able to get out of the city.
Let me hasten to say that I am not opposed to these runs/walkathons, but the frequency in recent times has served as an inconvenience to the motoring public.
The last one I recall, when we were diverted away from the city centre and ended up near to Loshusan Centre, there was yet another roadblock, and the policeman who was posted there saw the frustration on the faces of the motorists and he pulled it and let us through.
The city's major roadways are fast becoming tracks for city marathons and also entertainment zones for carnival road marches. Why not give permission but insist that these events take place in other locations where they affect a smaller section of the motoring public? The Palisadoes highway has a wide soft shoulder where motorists are less likely to be impeded, as there would be no need to block off the entire road, or do so downtown, since there is a lot of talk about putting more life into downtown.
Is it that these organisers feel that they get more publicity for their events when they have it in the city centre? If so, that's rubbish, as no one driving along and encountering the event will be parking and jumping out of their cars to join them, as, to participate, one would have had to register prior to the event.
The authorities - whether it's the police or the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation - need to limit, if not eliminate, these events that take place in the city centre, or when they do grant permission, they need to do so sparingly so that it doesn't become the norm.
In recent times, it seems like organisers think it's their right to inconvenience the motoring public.