THE St Ann Municipal Corporation, in its bid to reduce congestion in St Ann's Bay, has reintroduced the clamping of illegally parked vehicles.
The clamping and towing of motor vehicles is expected to start today.
Mayor of St Ann's Bay Michael Belnavis said the clamping and towing of illegally parked vehicles had been introduced in the town previously, however, it was not being enforced.
He pointed out that over the years other steps have been taken to reduce traffic congestion, including traffic changes throughout the town, with some roads being made into one-ways.
However, the congestion in the town continues to be a major concern. He believes the reintroduction of clamping and towing of vehicles will bring a sense of order among motorists in the town.
Belnavis said approximately $1.5 million has been spent on resources needed to get this programme back on track, and noted that it is a worthwhile investment by the municipal corporation.
“It is money well spent as it will relieve congestion and ensure the travelling public can move around without much hassle,” he stated.
This cost includes the purchase of an enforcement unit to carry the municipal police around the town to clamp vehicles illegally parked. The mayor said signs have also been erected and everything is in place for enforcement to take place.
“It is now up to the municipal police to enforce. The intent is to have the congestion managed; the intent is to have the taxi operators managed. The intent is for people to do business without hindrance,” Belnavis stressed while addressing a press conference last Friday.
He said motorists will be required to pay $2500 to have their illegally parked vehicles released.
Motorists with clamped vehicles will have until 7:00 pm to pay for the clamps to be removed. After this time, vehicle will be towed at the expense of the owner, who is still expected to pay the clamping fee. Motorists will also be expected to pay storage fee.
The mayor said the municipal corporation has ensured that parking is available before reintroducing clamping and towing in the town. He said there are car parks for paid parking within the town or motorists can purchase tickets to park in designated areas along streets in the town.
Permit parking spots include Main Street from Texaco Gas Station to Market Street; Main Street from Courts to Wharf Street; Main Street from Shell Gas Station to Church Crescent; Main Street from Jamaica Customs to Edgehill Road; along the southern side of Harbour Street, and Kings Street from C&W Corporative Credit Union to its intersection with Church Street.
Belnavis said plans are being made to accommodate privately operated vehicles at the St Ann's Bay Bus Park, which he believes is now underutilised.
“The Wharf Street Transportation Centre will be upgraded to accommodate private parking,” Belnavis said.
Motorists who have purchased parking permits will be required to display tickets on the driver's side of the dashboard. Failure to do this could result in the vehicle being clamped. Parking permits will cost $100 per hour.
In the meantime, Deputy Superintendent of Police Berris Williams, head of operations in St Ann, said the reintroduction of clamping by the municipal corporation does not mean the police will not be carrying out regular duties, which include issuing tickets and removing vehicles when warranted. He said the clamping system will “be adding teeth to enforcement in the town”.
The clamping of vehicles will be introduced in Ocho Rios by March of this year, Belnavis said. He said the municipal corporation is ensuring that it provides alternatives for motorists before enforcement is brought in. According to the mayor, efforts are being made to acquire lands from the Urban Development Corporation for this purpose.
The clamping of vehicles is also expected to be introduced in Brown's Town before the year ends.