Traffic boss says new Carnival route will reduce congestion

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The annual parades have traditionally taken place in the city centre streets (Photo courtesy VisitAntiguaBarbuda.com)
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By Carlena Knight

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Head of the police force’s traffic department Assistant Superintendent Rodney Ellis is welcoming the change to the route for Carnival’s T-shirt Mas’, J’ouvert and Carnival Monday and Tuesday parades.

Government revealed the new route last month after years of calls from members of the public, including Ellis, to move the parades out of the city of St John’s in order to ease congestion.

“I welcome that because we have been pushing for that some years, and now we get the opportunity so we have to ensure that all goes well,” he said.

“This new route, I welcome it. Thursday coming up we are going to have a test of it per sé. They are having a function; the Carnival committee are having Burn It Fitness Jam, [and] we are going to do a run on it on Thursday [and] we are advising persons to work with us.

“There will be some diversions and interruption in the flow of traffic but it’s easier on that route because there are a lot of by-roads that persons can utilise,” Ellis explained.

The route for the Burn It Fitness Jam will start at the Police Recreation Grounds on Sir Sydney Walling Highway and make its way up to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and back.

Ellis said the route is easier and safer, not just for police and patrons, but also for general road users to manoeuvre.

However, he acknowledged that it may present some difficulty for vendors plying their trade on the parade days.

“There are areas in place that vendors can set up and ply their trade. Also, [Sir] Vivian Richards Stadium is also a large area; [they] can set up around there.

“Another issue that was raised in the meeting is the cleaning up. Basically, it is the same. It is just a longer route, but in St John’s it is wide and you have all the streets in St John’s to clean, but now they only have one street to clean, which is Sir Sydney Walling Highway.

“I believe it’s a better way to go with regards to the Carnival. Persons are concerned, the vendors are concerned but I don’t see a major issue with that,” Ellis added.

After a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a scaled-down version of the annual Carnival celebrations will officially kick off on July 27.

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