Marlin outlines new parking strategy

POSTED: 04/18/13 2:44 PM

St. Maarten – By the end of April paid parking at the Clem Labega Ministry is expected to be  restructured with new devices placed to better coordinate and control parking in that area. Ministry of Vromi, William Marlin gave an update on to Parliamentarians on Tuesday.

The minister said that with parking times being estimated and manually billed by attendants as well as the same space being used for entry and exit from the parking lot, changes will have to be made.

“The manner, in which it is now, with one exit and the same entrance, is a disaster in the making where a car is trying to leave the parking lot and one is trying to enter the parking lot from the Back Street area. It is a matter of who will reverse. You get a manmade disaster traffic jam on a daily basis that resonates all the way down to the other roads. We are redirecting the traffic, we have ordered the equipment, it is on its way and is supposed to arrive here at the end of April,” the minister said.

Once the new parking plan is in place, entering the parking lot will only be from the right in front of the Windward Island Bank while exiting will only be possible from the exit area in front of the former Fire Station by making a right turn.

“You cannot say you are going to Back Street and leave the parking and make a left turn to go to Back Street or to the Windward Islands Bank. People do illegal things all the time in traffic but we hope with proper controls people will realize that it is in everyone’s benefit if we follow the signage properly,” the minister added.

Marlin added that government may also consider other locations for paid parking but these will have to be developed in conjunction with improving the location and traffic flow. With the completion of the new government building, a parking garage will also be constructed where more than 1000 vehicles owned by civil servants or visitors to the building will be allowed to park.

Parking Meters

Because of the amount of people already parking along the Walter Nisbeth Road, the minister said that government may also consider placing parking meters in strategic spots as evident in Miami, Curacao and the Netherlands. Several people will be able to use one parking device, by printing a ticket and placing it on their dashboard so that it will be visible

Parking on Front Street

The way Front Street has been reconfigured it will be very difficult to carry out paid parking on Front Street, the minister said. He said that he had received a request from a hotel on Front Street to utilize two alleys for their guests to park rental cars overnight, however this request was denied because of safety and emergency reasons.

Valet Parking

The government has also had discussions with the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association, representing restaurateurs, so that when the parking lot at the Clem Labega Square is restructured, an area will be designated for valet parking.

“We are also looking at the possibility of if you give someone your car at the Court House at three o’clock in the afternoon and end up strolling all the way to the Green House and at nine or ten at night, rather than walk all the way down to the center of town to look for the valet attendant, you have a number on the stub you received, that you can call and ask them to please bring your car at the Green House where it will be delivered.”

The minister said this offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs to get into this type of business. He said that it is not government’s intention to get into the business of valet parking but would like to stimulate the business community to seriously consider this venture. Young people can be used as valets, the minister said.

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