This week, the man and woman in the street give their views on the possible return of metered parking to Georgetown.
Royda Hatton (vendor): `I think the parking meters should return but they should review it; don’t make it so costly, make it where people could handle. Because I’m a vendor here and all these cars are people who’re working somewhere around and park all day. Sometimes someone with a car would come and want to go into a store. They can’t get a parking spot because people are parked all day. So to me when the parking meters were there, there was a kind of order, the traffic was flowing more freely and all those things. Nothing is wrong with the parking meters, it’s just that it should be reviewed and be brought back more reasonably, where people can afford and handle it.’
Orwin (only name given) (vendor): `I’m against that, because when the parking meters are in operation the situation becomes stressful because of the presence of the constables, especially for us with music carts. The constables don’t want you to park and sell music anywhere around the parking meters and the majority of places have them. On the other hand, when you’re walking, the police tell you to stand in a corner and play, so it’s a really tight situation for us as music people. It would be real hard.’
Cleveland Chappel (vendor): `It would cause corruption of the business people around Camp and Regent. I think if they bring back the parking meters that the price range should go down a little more, very low. At least $100 or $80. I don’t think it would affect business much if the price was lowered. If it’s dropped, people won’t mind paying to park. And also for schools, I think they should charge teachers a percentage if they’re saying that they have to pay for parking’.
Godfrey Campbell: `I don’t think it should come back because it’s a lot of money…think about the amount of money people would have to pay daily and the average salary amount a month. I think companies need to invest more in parking for their staff’.
Ryan (only name given) (vendor): `I don’t really have a problem with it because it would be better for me. Why I say so is because most of these stores (on Regent), you come to town and you can’t do anything because one store owner has about five workers and all five of them have cars and they occupy the parking from 7:30 to about 5:30. So other persons looking to do business in town don’t have a chance. So I think it’s something good for the country but the price has to be more affordable, like $100 an hour. We won’t have all this big traffic clustering up the place, because most of the vehicles you see here are permanent parking’.
Joan Marshall (vendor): `We’re not ready for that, we’re now catching ourselves. And then when we do meet, we look like we’re moving, we’re progressing, then we can get our people to invest in parking. Like build parking areas where we can go and park, our people. Our money must stay here, not to be fetched out, and that is what is going on all the time. How can you develop your country when your money keeps going? You’re getting foreign investors, where does the money go? All you get is a little bit of revenue but that cannot do for the people of Guyana. The majority is going to them’.
Richard Marshall (vendor): `I think they should abandon it in its entirety. They should abolish the whole idea because I don’t understand the foundation of this parking deal. To me it’s like a hoax. It’s like they forced it on the Guyanese people. We don’t know where this thing is going and we don’t know where it came from. It’s a good initiative but I think they started off on the wrong foot, so abolish the whole idea. How they started with the meter, they started wrong, so if they want to come with another plan, another similar initiative, we won’t trust them because we’ll feel it’s the same case as the other one’.
Chricell Whitney (private sector): `If they are to go ahead and implement metered parking again, a lot more focus should be placed on informing the public in order to encourage ‘buy in’ and to avoid resistance. Maybe a survey of the possible rates and what people are willing to pay or can afford can be carried out as well. I don’t think the problem is with paid parking itself but the rates and zones. They will have to invest in PR to change people’s perceptions’.
Winston Franklin (taxi driver): `It’s not really viable to the society at the moment. I think it’s a personal thing and not on the basis of we, the citizens, benefitting. This simple problem could easily be fixed if we developed more access roads, because most of the industries are concentrated in Central Georgetown and so that’s where most of the traffic is’.