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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesDowntown Traffic: A Blight for Locals and Tourists

Downtown Traffic: A Blight for Locals and Tourists

I truly hope that Ted Bast's dream of a vibrant and viable downtown experience for visitors and locals alike will come to its fruition sooner rather than later.
This issue has been raised over and over again for at least the past 20 years and has been continuously stymied by the taxi industry. Any attempt to restrict Main Street and make it a pedestrian mall and any attempt to create a water taxi operation between downtown and the East End has met with the continued forceful resistance of taxi drivers who live in fear of curtailment of their business.
A Main Street pedestrian mall has always seemed to me to be a no-brainer. The shopping experience for visitors would be infinitely more pleasurable. Without all the back-to-back traffic, visitors might just get a chance to walk around at leisure, shop more and maybe even enjoy the unique downtown architecture which is invariably unnoticed because of the hubbub of distraction.
The taxi drivers wouldn't miss out on anything. Given drop-off and pick-up points at either end of Main Street, where would be their loss of revenue?
The average local doesn't shop downtown unless that's where they work. As much as we'd like to support the local downtown businesses, we can't find any parking spaces downtown! We know the stores are there but we can't get to them!
The water taxis could have been implemented donkey's years ago to everyone's benefit if the taxi drivers hadn't been so adamantly against them. Had their persistent tunnel vision and myopia not prevailed for so long, they could have diverted some of their income into investing money into a well-run water taxi operation in which they could have had a viable stake and which, again, would have benefited everyone. Both visitors and locals would utilize such a water taxi service and the revenues would be a win-win situation for everyone.
It's certainly not too late to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Isn't it surely time that we all get off the stick and have a vision to follow through with? Or shall we simply be stuck in the past ad nauseum and end up as Dodos where both locals and tourists are concerned?
Anna Clarke
St. Thomas

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