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IDEAS ADVANCED FOR IMPROVING TRAFFIC FLOW

Nov. 27, 2001 – Business leaders and representatives of community groups sat down with federal highway planners Tuesday morning to go over ways to address traffic, safety and aesthetic issues on the stretch of waterfront road from Havensight to Lovers' Lane.
At the meeting, sponsored by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, the highway planners presented their preliminary plans for widening the road to four lanes. The business and community leaders in turn presented ideas that included creating dedicated taxi lanes, areas for taxi drivers to pick up passengers without stopping traffic, and perhaps a pedestrian overpass near the intersection with Beltjen Road.
Preliminary plans call for making the road four lanes wide from the Lovers' Lane intersection past the old Yacht Haven Hotel beginning in the spring of 2003. But widening the road is just one aspect of the project, which the planners said is meant to improve not only traffic flow, but also safety and the experience of walking through the area.
"It's very important to integrate pedestrian and vehicle traffic in that area," said Tom Brunt, the immediate past president of the Chamber of Commerce, who chaired Tuesday's meeting. "This can be a landmark project, not just for the territory, but for the wider region."
Brunt noted that the number of cruise ship passengers coming to St. Thomas is projected to top 2 million annually in coming years and that plans are under way to develop a new resort and marina at the Yacht Haven property. For these reasons, he said, it is more important than ever to address the flow of traffic through the area that serves as the gateway to St. Thomas for cruise visitors.
The $18 million plan calls for improving traffic flow through Mandela Circle to and from the waterfront road, Centerline Road (Estate Thomas Road) and the entrance to Havensite Mall.
The road expansion plans will be discussed further in a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Public Services Commission offices in Barbel Plaza. The public is invited to attend, ask questions and offer input.
Discussion of how to deal with traffic congestion between Havensight and downtown Charlotte Amalie has been going on at least since 1978, with little progress made, according to Helen Gjessing, chair of the League of Women Voters' Planning and Environmental Quality Committee.
The League has advocated improved public transportation, an alternate traffic flow pattern, improved off-street parking and other ideas beyond simply widening the roads to address the problem. Development of a water-taxi system has been raised as a possibility in the past, she said, but that controversial topic did not come up at Tuesday's meeting.

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Nov. 27, 2001 - Business leaders and representatives of community groups sat down with federal highway planners Tuesday morning to go over ways to address traffic, safety and aesthetic issues on the stretch of waterfront road from Havensight to Lovers' Lane.
At the meeting, sponsored by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, the highway planners presented their preliminary plans for widening the road to four lanes. The business and community leaders in turn presented ideas that included creating dedicated taxi lanes, areas for taxi drivers to pick up passengers without stopping traffic, and perhaps a pedestrian overpass near the intersection with Beltjen Road.
Preliminary plans call for making the road four lanes wide from the Lovers' Lane intersection past the old Yacht Haven Hotel beginning in the spring of 2003. But widening the road is just one aspect of the project, which the planners said is meant to improve not only traffic flow, but also safety and the experience of walking through the area.
"It's very important to integrate pedestrian and vehicle traffic in that area," said Tom Brunt, the immediate past president of the Chamber of Commerce, who chaired Tuesday's meeting. "This can be a landmark project, not just for the territory, but for the wider region."
Brunt noted that the number of cruise ship passengers coming to St. Thomas is projected to top 2 million annually in coming years and that plans are under way to develop a new resort and marina at the Yacht Haven property. For these reasons, he said, it is more important than ever to address the flow of traffic through the area that serves as the gateway to St. Thomas for cruise visitors.
The $18 million plan calls for improving traffic flow through Mandela Circle to and from the waterfront road, Centerline Road (Estate Thomas Road) and the entrance to Havensite Mall.
The road expansion plans will be discussed further in a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Public Services Commission offices in Barbel Plaza. The public is invited to attend, ask questions and offer input.
Discussion of how to deal with traffic congestion between Havensight and downtown Charlotte Amalie has been going on at least since 1978, with little progress made, according to Helen Gjessing, chair of the League of Women Voters' Planning and Environmental Quality Committee.
The League has advocated improved public transportation, an alternate traffic flow pattern, improved off-street parking and other ideas beyond simply widening the roads to address the problem. Development of a water-taxi system has been raised as a possibility in the past, she said, but that controversial topic did not come up at Tuesday's meeting.