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City wrecking rakes in $.8m monthly
The Port-of-Spain City Corporation earns approximately $800,000 a month from wrecking illegally parked cars on the city’s streets. The revenue from wrecking in a single day can reach $85,000, and on a weekend brings in close to $200,000. A person whose car is towed away must pay $500 to recover it, of which the wrecking service provider collects $300 and the remainder goes to the city corporation. Woodbrook councillor Cleveland Garcia made said so yesterday at a consultation on the Port-of-Spain experimental traffic scheme hosted by the Ministry of Works and Transport’s Highways Division. His comments came during discussion of the wrecking of illegally-parked cars. President of the Downtown Owners’ and Merchants’ Association (Doma) Gregory Aboud described the mayor’s wrecking scheme as “a money-making one.” The consultation was held to divulge details of new traffic arrangements and routes to the various stakeholders affected by the proposed changes, which the ministry is hoping to implement by July 16.
Major changes will be made to traffic routes in Woodbrook and some streets in St James. Ariapita Avenue will become a one-way heading east only and Tragarete Road will also be made into a one-way, heading west as far as the Roxy Roundabout. Works and Infrastructure Ministers Jack Warner, Transport Minister Devant Maharaj and Stacy Roopnarine, Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure were present at the event. Representatives from the Taxi Drivers’ Association and councillors of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation also attended. “We need to make changes as we go along and to create options in the plan so that we don’t get locked into a plan that fails. If the scheme runs into trouble because of one or two minor issues, we shouldn’t lose the whole scheme,” Aboud told the consultation. He also called for public comment, as well as what he termed a grid system, which will transform all streets in St James and Woodbrook to one-way in alternating directions.
He said if the city reverted to a “true grid system,” the plan should work. Aboud said he believed if the plan included parking, it would not be a catastrophe for businesses. He said by making both Ariapita Avenue and Tragarete Road one-ways, the city will be adding capacity and so should be able to allow wrecker-free parking. However, he said if the plan did not accommodate parking for customers, it would hurt businesses badly. Ministry officials said several stakeholders were consulted and met with on the matter, including the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC). Twelve of the PTSC’s routes will be affected by the changes. Officials said a group was formed by PTSC to address the issue and new routes would be introduced.
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