Controller of Road Traffic, Ross Smith, along with Senior Road Traffic Officer Mark Ingraham, spoke to a small group of concerned citizens concerning the proposed Road Traffic Regulations amendments for the historic village of Hope Town on February 23 at Hope Town Harbour Lodge.
Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting noted that several years ago the Hope Town Council along with members of the community drafted some suggested regulations for road traffic in Hope Town.
“This is the final meeting before cabinet reviews and passes the traffic regulations with your support,” he said.
Mr. Ingraham lead the discussion beginning with results from the Road Traffic study which was done in conjunction with Caribbean Civil Group (CCG) on small island traffic done in 2014 which was conducted on Harbour Island, Spanish Wells, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay and Hope Town.
He said that Hope Town’s Draft Regulations may serve as a blueprint for the rest of the Bahamas.
In their study, which was conducted on the Queens Highway outside of the historic village, it was seen that Hope Town had the largest percentage of heavy vehicle traffic (vehicles over 5000 pounds) at 17 percent, while all other small islands averaged between two to six percent comparatively.
Some of the recommendations included placing of proper signage, pedestrian zones, incentivized enforcement and other regulations on speed limits and to encourage the eventual elimination of vehicles.
Mr. Ingraham then discussed the proposed legislation with the view to hearing some final comments or suggestions before taking the amendments to Cabinet for a final decision.
The legislation covers the historic district of Hope Town and places restrictions on traffic moving north of the Methodist Church and limits speed, vehicle size and permissions to certain persons (residents, commercial, emergency, etc.).
There was general agreement with the restrictions suggested in the draft legislation, though there were concerns expressed for caregivers who are required to assist the elderly and disabled in the village. Many of the concerns were focused on the issue of speed outside of the historic village which are not being addressed in the proposed legislation, and the lack of enforcement.
Mr. Ingraham thanked the residents for their input and promised to bring their concerns and suggestions to the attention of Cabinet.