The new $48 million traffic management system for Montego Bay St. James, which was commissioned into service on Saturday (November 7), is already having a positive impact on traffic in the second city.
The system is inclusive of 22 new traffic lights and state of the art cameras. In addition, traffic has been re-routed and many two-way streets turned into one way and vice-versa. Road users are adapting to the new arrangements which have been getting the thumbs up from most citizens.
Addressing a press briefing at the St. James Parish Council Chambers, Montego Bay, on Tuesday (November 10), His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Charles Sinclair, expressed satisfaction that the traffic system provided the answer to "an age old traffic headache" in the tourist capital.
"From what I was able to see for myself, as I walked the town yesterday (November 9) with some members of the National Works Agency and the police on some of the roadways that would have been heavily bogged down with traffic there was, instead, a free flow of traffic," the Mayor said.
He said that there was smooth flow of traffic on Harbour, Strand and Creek Streets, as well as along areas of St. James Street on to Dome and Union Streets.
The Mayor assured that the situation would be closely monitored, and that sensitisation programmes would be organised to educate pedestrians on the use of the designated crossings, and how to approach and use the guard rails being established for their safety.
"As citizens of Montego Bay, I believe that we ought to work together with one common goal; that is to make this system work in the city. I have received the commitment of the enforcement agencies, such as the Transport Authority, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Municipal Police of the Council," the Mayor went on.
"We are therefore asking and pleading with all citizens and users of the roadways to do what we call, 'voluntary compliance', and use our roads properly so they can be safe for all of us," he concluded.
National Works Agency's Intelligent Transport Specialist, Michael Saunderson, has also given the new system the thumbs-up. He also commended motorists for adapting to the programme so quickly.
"With 22 new traffic lights and 22 locations, there are basically lots of changes for citizens and, especially, the motorists to adjust to, and I must give Montegonians credit, because for the three days they were able to pick up the changes and use the system well," he stated.
He said that the NWA would continue to monitor the system, and in six months will be doing another assessment and final adjustments.
"In all, we are very delighted at what we are seeing, but we would want to appeal to pedestrians to be careful, and to use the sidewalks and obey the hand signals at the crossing," Mr. Saunderson pleaded.