On November 16, 2018 the Belize City administrator sent a letter to the Ministry of Works regarding the stretch of highway from mile 2 to 3.5. The letter spoke of QUOTE “an area that presents safety challenges to pedestrians who must cross the highway at various points… and it has failed to consider that residents need to cross the highway at multiple points.” Marlena Mortis lost her life on Monday morning and people continue to cross the Ministry of Works hurdles. The upgraded stretch of highway which is within the Belize City limits, had been buttressed in a manner that would make Donald Trump wall-envy. In addition to a median, two additional concrete barriers have been installed that prevents the Belama and Buttownwood Bay area residents in addition to students from crossing the highway at convenient locations. Residents would have to cross at the roundabout near Speednet or a distance down the road in front of James Brodies store. Love News spoke to Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner who offered a solution that did not include placing additional speed bumps on the road.
Jose Sanchez: “ What would be your proposed solution if you have gotten the response form the Ministry of Works?”
Mayor Bernard Wagner: “Well we met with them again and we told them listen why not look at developing three of those pedestrian crossings; the one that is in front of Brodies, another two between the Brodies pedestrian crossing and the roundabout by Mirab. We are saying why not put two other pedestrian crossings in that area. Utilize the mechanism where the pedestrian would activate a stop light only when he or she reaches the point where they want to cross. They reach the point, they press the button, the lights are there and eventually the lights come on, stop and then traffic stops and then it gives those pedestrians the opportunity to cross. You don’t want to put pedestrian ramps all across the stretch of highway but you would want to put some sort of mechanism that is triggered by someone being there because most of the time you don’t have that continuous traffic or people crossing the highway so you want that to be activated by the pedestrians needs. When the pedestrian reaches that spot he would press the button and the light would come on and the red light would stop the traffic and give that person the opportunity to cross the street. Those are just some of the solutions we felt could easily be worked into the construction but again it fell on deaf ears. We haven’t even received a response to this letter from the Ministry of Works and from a local Government area.
Jose Sanchez: “Sir so the people who live in phase 1 whether they are students on bicycles to go home that would simply mean riding all the way up to Brodies and the coming all the way back down?”
Mayor Bernard Wagner: No consideration whatsoever was put into this plan for our pedestrians, no consultation. It was plan developed through the IDB, funded through the IDB but there was no sort of local consultation and we brought it to their attention when we were first admitted here; myself and my team in office. Here at City Hall we brought it to their attention that listen this stretch of highway would become a killing field.
Mayor Wagner calls on the Ministry of Works and Local Government to meet with the council to address the situation facing pedestrians.