We are in the height of the Christmas season, and, based on the level of traffic congestion and perhaps confusion, it is pertinent that care, caution, courtesy, consideration and common sense – the five Cs of the roadways, which are taught in every drivers’ class on traffic rules – must be followed. It is evident that this is rarely being followed these days. The consequence of which are road carnage and, more so in Georgetown, total chaos.
Contributing more to the chaos in the city is the ‘no diagonal parking’ rule. It is understandable that, indeed, major congested streets in the city would be less choked with this new rule, but to blanket downtown with this rule is beyond comprehensible logistics. Regent Street, the major minibus route and one of the busiest streets in the city, is indeed in dire need of such a rule. But why Robb Street?
Yes, it is a major shopping street, but it is a one-way. How can the no diagonal parking rule bring more order to that street? As a matter of fact, it has brought with it more confusion. This is so because vehicles are now double parking, thus impeding traffic flow. Another example is on King Street, Georgetown. This facility, with diagonal parking, can accommodate at least 12 vehicles, but, with the new rule, will accommodate a mere five or six vehicles. What should have been considered is the fact that some business entities around the city can accommodate diagonal parking without impeding the roadways. As such, these entities should have been measured as an exception to the rule.
Added to the parking woes, more often than not, minibus and taxi drivers add to the confusion of traffic in the city. Although there are designated ‘Bus Stops’ these drivers drop off and pick up passengers anywhere along the streets of the city. These drivers exercise no consideration for other road users; they drive on the right lane, then stop, blocking traffic in both lanes so they can manoeuvre to get passengers. Can we blame this on insufficient driver education? Do drivers know that right lane is only to be used for overtaking and turning? The answer to that question is certainly yes, but because of the culture of tempting traffic officers with inducement, defaulters have developed the confidence that such violations can be effortlessly dismissed. As was called for before, there must be an unbendable system implemented for those Traffic Officers who may be tempted to take an inducement and allow these defaulters to go free.
We urge the authorities to continue to look at ways in which the road network in Guyana could be further expanded, improved, rehabilitated and maintained. This would certainly bring a great relief to citizens’ frustrations, and would also help to reduce the number of road fatalities in the country.
As the Christmas season continues, the Guyana Police Force Traffic Department would have to employ more rigorous traffic control tactics to curb the congestion in the city of Georgetown. To assist in easing the bottleneck in the city, the responsible agencies should ensure that roads are properly demarcated, traffic lights are working correctly, and there is a review of the ‘no diagonal parking’ rule.