Ariapita Avenue

UPGRADE COMING: Ariapita Avenue, Port of Spain. —Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

House to house and business to business.

One thousand questionnaires are being delivered to a cross-section of residents, burgesses and the business community to solicit their views over the imminent upgrade for Woodbrook and environs under the Ariapita Avenue Enhancement Project, says Port of Spain South Member of Parliament Keith Scotland.

The 1,000 questionnaires come on the heels of last week Monday’s virtual consultation at which Scotland gave Woodbrook residents the assurance of increased police presence and security when the project is completed.

Monday night’s forum was hosted by the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) at which Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis and Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez spoke. Scotland also said Mitchell had said the beautification and improvement project was expected to cost between $20 and $30 million in its first phase.

Displaying a questionnaire at his Methuen Street office, Woodbrook, on Wednesday. Scotland, an attorney by profession, said: “It will be house to house, and business to business... We want to hear their views on the upgrade. We await their suggestions, comments and criticisms. We want to know what they are thinking, and where they would want the proposed upgrade to focus on. If you are not a home, you will get it in your mailbox. We want a truly democratic process to unfold in going forward.”

Scotland added: “I have heard some of their views before. I want them to express it again. Do your research, and let us know what you would like to see the community look like. We are all united in the common goal of improving the community. As poet John Keats would say, ‘We want a thing of beauty in the city’.”

Asked about the low-hanging fruit, Scotland said: “We will be focusing on pedestrianising the streets. We want to make it comfortable when people take strolls, or sit and enjoy the ambience. We will focus on lighting, and security.”

Good idea but more info please

Meanwhile, several residents have labelled the project a “good idea” but confessed they did not have sufficient knowledge about all the grand plans for Woodbrook.

Carlyle Prescod said: “It’s a good idea. I don’t have much information.”

At a popular grill, manager Rene Lumsden, who hails from Maraval, said: “It might be hard if there are no vehicles at all on the streets. If it’s limited to a certain part then it would be nice. Thank God, I was never robbed but I have heard people say they were robbed. We need to beef up security.”

Woodbrook resident Robert Ramdeen asked what would happen to the traffic congestion. “Before Covid-19 struck, the streets were already congested. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic. Will the traffic be diverted full time?”

On the issue of safety, Ramdeen added: “We don’t feel safe on Ariapita Avenue. Break-ins take place regularly on Adam Smith Square. What are they going to do about policing? What will happen around Robert Street and Tragarete Road?”

Ramdeen said there was a desperate need for public urinals and bins, especially during Covid-19 pandemic.

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