The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in its bid to provide pedestrian safety for and around the Sea Lots Community has established a pedestrian Safety Zone (the ASHARA Safety Zone) spanning from Abbatoir Road and Production Drive at the Port-of-Spain Eastern Market to the Old Lighthouse at the intersection of the Beetham Highway and South Quay: the zone is quite noticeable with its yellow and black checkered crosswalk markings, and accompanying signage of where to cross and also notably where not to cross, have been installed. Crosswalks have been put in place at both Production Drive and at the Lighthouse, with traffic lights also now having been installed for the westbound lane of the Beetham Highway at this location. We make special mention of these traffic signals, as they are new and we want to ensure that motorists know and are aware of them and the newly established crosswalk in place there.
The speed limit for the zone -with signage indicating such- has been set at 50 Km/h. Black and white painted protective railings, concrete barriers and a new pedestrian bridge on the southern side of the highway have also been installed.
The benefit of this zone will be so however, only as far as pedestrians make an habitual and proper use of the facilities for their own safety. In this regard, Sea Lots Community representatives, who met and worked with our Traffic Mangement Branch (TMB) toward developing the Safety zone, prepared a community pledge in commitment of their proper use of the ASHARA Safety Zone in helping to secure their own traffic safety. The ASHARA name for the Safety Zone is explained in the pledge.
Here below are some remarks from the spokesperson for the Sea Lots residents, as well as text of the Community Pledge:
“Rise to the occasion, look at yourself then say you’re strong no one can stop you!”
Dear Sea Lots
On Sunday February 24th we, as a community, experienced great tragedy. But, even in the darkest of tragedies one can find good, such is the nature and resilience of the human spirit.
I am pleased to inform you that we, the residents of Sea Lots, have demonstrated our strength and managed to turn a negative into a positive. We did not let the situation get the better of us. Instead we took the opportunity to get better for ourselves and our children.
After several fully collaborative meetings with officials and technical officers of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and the Ministry of National Security, the following was developed.
The ASHARA Safety Zone – This zone runs from Abbatoir Road to the Lighthouse and is an area where motorists are required to exhibit caution as there is expected to be pedestrian activity. This zone was named to commemorate the six persons who were injured in the accident.
A – Akasha
S – Shakira
H – Haydee
A – Abigail
R – Ryan
A – Amanda
As part of the ASHARA Safety Zone, a number of measures were developed and instituted in order to ensure the safety of the residents and stake holders in the Sea Lots community and they include:
- 260 New Jersey Barriers that line the southside of the Beetham Highway from Production Avenue to the Lighthouse. These barriers will protect persons on the sidewalk.
- Two Pedestrian Push Button Crossings, one at Abbatoir Road and the other at the Lighthouse. Once pressed, these buttons will stop all traffic to allow persons to cross.
- 545 metres of railing along the sidewalk, again on the southside of the Beetham Highway, from Production Avenue to the Lighthouse. These railing are to discourage persons from walking in the roadway.
- A 37 metre span pedestrian walkway, crossing the river between Production Avenue to Pioneer Drive
- Reduction of the speed limit on the Beetham Highway from 80km to 50 km per hour to make it illegal to use excessive speed
- Brand new yellow and black checkered traffic management markings to alert drivers to the pedestrian crossings and channel persons across the intersections
- Speed reduction markings as a means of traffic calming
Ours is a very significant accomplishment as we have worked hard towards our goal, however, it does not stop there. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”. We now have a responsibility as residents and citizens to make proper use of the infrastructure provided for us and to teach the young ones to do likewise. The following is a pledge that I would like us all to make so that we would never again experience a day like that fateful one in February.
We, the residents of Sea Lots, will:
- Use the southside of the Beetham Highway which has been made safe for us
- Walk behind the railings on the sidewalk and never in the roadway
- Use the Pedestrian Crossings to cross the road
- Demonstrate that we are responsible for our own safety and encourage each other to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do