Smart City Solutions (SCS), the company awarded the parking meter contract for the city of Georgetown, announced yesterday that it is ready to meet with the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the National Commission on Disability (NCD).
The company made this declaration via a statement, which comes on the heels of several reports in the media about parking meters being positioned in front of public schools as well on the pavements around Georgetown, which would affect teachers and impede the movement of persons with disabilities, particularly those who are blind.
According to the company, although it recognizes the importance of dealing with these issues, it must be noted that the SCS has never been approached by either organisation. As such, the company said that it has to now react to second-hand news reports about the concerns of these entities rather than being able to address the issues directly and constructively.
The company noted that despite a large number of parking meters being mounted already around the City and hundreds of foundations for meters being installed; only a handful of them are the subject of concern.
It was expressed by SCS that the NCD has already been contacted and a meeting is expected to be held as soon as it is practicable for the Commission. This engagement is to ensure that the placement of meters conforms to internationally accepted standards and practices, as well as prevailing local conditions, to minimize the impact on the free movement of persons with disabilities.
As it relates to the Teachers’ Union, the company said that it is essential for any properly functioning metered parking system, or for any such generally regulated public infrastructure platform, to establish and adhere to general standards which are fairly and equitably applied across the board. However, despite this general rule, SCS accepts that there are exceptions, and is therefore willing to apply special consideration where there are particular special circumstances.
The company has suggested that special arrangements such as parking permits for teachers and specific parking regulations in school areas are, in fact, consistent with international practice.
On this basis, SCS said that it is willing to examine a customized solution as has been done with other organizations and institutions which the SCS has engaged. The parking permits, the company said, can be granted on application for spaces exclusive to teachers during prescribed times, which would regulate those parking spaces on behalf of the permit holders.
This would grant preferential access to parking in proximity to schools as under regular circumstances, teachers would have to compete with ordinary motorists for parking spaces.
Presently there are two meters mounted in front of The Bishops’ High School on the eastern and western sides of Carmichael Street, and a third has been placed in front of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre. Additionally, two foundations for meters have been set up infront of St. George’s High School.
When Kaieteur News contacted the Public Relations Officers of SCS, Kit Nascimento last week, he said that the company has been in contact with private sector entities and government agencies in order to come up with special packages, but no representation was made by the GTU.
If teachers are made to pay the current rates for parking starting January 23, 2017, they may end up paying as much as $1,200 a day, or $6,000 per week. The rate for each parking rotation of 15 minutes is $50.
As part of the contract with the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, the company is installing 157 parking meters responsible for 3237 parking spaces. The instruments can be located along Quamina Street, Charlotte Street, Avenue of the Republic, King Street, Wellington Street, North Road, Hadfield Street, Regent Street, Croal Street, South Road, Robb Street, Camp Street, Church Street, Water Street and Brickdam.
Paid parking will be in effect from 07:00hrs to 19:00hrs from Monday to Saturday. Motorists will not have to pay on Sundays or any National Holiday. If persons breach their allotted time, wardens would place a lock on the wheel of the vehicle preventing it from moving. In the event of this, vehicle owners would have to pay an $8000 fine. If this fee is not paid, owners risk their vehicle being impounded.
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