Bring order to downtown chaos
This is an open letter to Kingston Mayor Angela Brown Burke.
I request that you look into the issue of pedestrian comfort in downtown Kingston. I walk along the roads in Parade and nearby - from Darling Street in the west, to Duke Street in the east, and Heywood Street in the north, to Ocean Boulevard in the south, and think to myself, 'What a big market!'
Vendors have bullied their way into the walking space of the pedestrians. Pedestrians are left to walk on tiptoes and ducking under hanging obstacles on Beckford, Orange, Princess, Barry, West and King streets because of vendors who have occupied the walkways, access to which they allegedly pay the KSAC. The sidewalks and streets themselves are filled with blouses, skirts, shoes, sheets, pillows, phone cases, ground produce, fruits, etc. This forces pedestrians to walk in the roadway and risk being run over by speeding Jamaica Urban Transport Company buses, or licensed and unlicensed handcarts being pushed against the flow of traffic.
Her Worship, the vendors dispose of their garbage right where they sell, posing the risk to pedestrians slipping on plastic bags or skin peels from ground produce. The ramps designed for hand trucks and wheelchairs have been covered with tarpaulins displaying slippers and other goods, posing additional problems for the already challenged.
BREEDING GROUND FOR HOODLUMS
Taxi drivers park and pick up passengers anywhere and everywhere, making a mockery of the no-parking sign and worsening traffic congestion in the already crowded town. Your Worship, the lack of order and clear walking space has facilitated a breeding ground for hoodlums preying on unsuspecting pedestrians and customers. As it nears the festive season, the number of roadside vendors will multiply tenfold. In addition, some vendors are hostile and violent and are armed with knives and machetes that are not only used for coconuts and melons.
Vendors have been allowed to occupy the sidewalks for years, hence it seems impossible to remove them. The cat-and-mouse between the municipal police and the vendors is not effective. Something more is needed.
Will the vending area at the intersection of West Parade and West Queen Street, in front of St William Grant Park, which was destroyed by fire some years ago, ever be reopened? Is there an area for taxis to drop off and pick up? Is the licensing of handcarts permission to become nuisance in the town?