As if parking in Cruz Bay wasn’t difficult enough, starting Tuesday a portion of the public parking lot by the Motor Vehicle Bureau will be closed for several days so the V.I. Fire Service can park a 40-foot trailer at the site to use for “administration” purposes.
“It will be the new prevention office,” Fire Service spokesman Darryl George said.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith said the portion of the Motor Vehicle parking lot to be closed is the strip that leads into the area where vehicles are inspected.
The Fire Service trailer will be located in the spot where the old Motor Vehicle trailer stood. It was torn down in preparation for the arrival of the Fire Service trailer.
George said he expects the parking lot to reopen Wednesday. He said it has to close so the crane that’s going to position the trailer can have room to work.
While the 150-space parking lot adjacent to the Enighed Pond Marine Terminal appears ready to open, don’t hold your breath. While the gravel and car stops are in place, V.I. Port Authority engineer Dale Gregory said that there are issues to be worked out with the solar lighting because the solar lights are in conflict with utility lines in some areas.
The landscaping isn’t in place, and he said that when it rains hard, the road floods near the intersection adjacent to the public tennis courts. That issue also needs to be addressed.
Smith said the Enighed Pond parking lot also needs to be fenced. She agreed that the area is dark at night, so the solar lighting needs to be in place before it can open.
“We need to finish it up in its entirety,” she said.
Smith said she is trying to contact Port Authority Director Kenn Hobson to find out the target date for opening the parking lot, but he is attending the Seatrade conference in Miami and hasn’t called her back.
Gregory had no idea when the parking lot would open.
V.I. Port Authority board Chair Robert O’Connor Jr. said the contractor has to be released from the project before the parking lot can open. Wharton Smith has the $988,450 contract.
Albert Willis, who owns several Cruz Bay businesses, suggested that the Port Authority open the parking lot without the landscaping and resolution of the solar light issue.
“It’s kind of an emergency,” he said of Cruz Bay’s strangled parking situation.
He said businesses suffered because of the parking shortage.
According to the Government House press release, Motor Vehicle Bureau will continue to do vehicle inspections during normal business hours on the side the of building while the Fire Service trailer is puts in place.
In recent years, drivers lost parking spaces in that lot when the V.I. Energy Office and the University of the Virgin Islands installed a trailer to serve as office space.
Additionally, a food truck consumes another handful of parking spaces. At other Cruz Bay parking lots, bars, fruit stands and smoothie stands take up areas that could be used as parking spaces.