The rate at which some upwardly mobile Jamaican citizens are moving is faster than our leaders can plan.
The issue of urban planning continues to leave a sour taste in the mouths of the concerned, as there is increased congestion within the towns and cities across the island. The increase in the volume of motor vehicles flowing through urban spaces is more than there are areas for them to park. Shops, stores, and hi-rise residential buildings are popping up like planted peas seeds. Students originating from rural areas and attending universities in the city fall in love with the city lights and never to return from whence they came.
Urban planning focuses on the development, design, and use of land and infrastructure within towns and cities. It looks mainly at issues such as transportation, population, property development, public facilities, waste management, and communication. It draws from experts in the field of engineering, architecture, social sciences, among other disciplines.
Proper planning of urban centres is sorely lacking, and it is the responsibility of our leaders to ensure that there is an active plan that is monitored and updated for all the towns and cities across the island.
In most towns we regularly see taxis and buses kotching here and there, scavenging for passengers. When they are asked about the bus or taxi park, they tell you it is full, in dire need of repair, or there is none.
It is a regular occurrence for pedestrians to be hopscotching over sewage that is slowly cruising along kerbs within a number of Jamaican towns.
Kingston is becoming very festive, with New York-looking skyscrapers popping up on every corner. Every week the vending population increases, filling up all the available spaces on the sidewalks. Fast food restaurants, call centres, banks, and other businesses are not to be left behind as they equally increase their presence within the metropolitan area.
While the increase in business and business prospects is good, the lack of or poor urban planning is counterproductive. More people in a small space will require adequate parking; road maintenance; well-constructed drains; proper sewage systems; strategic placement of residential, commercial, and entertainment facilities; among other essentials.
It should not be that the slightest rainfall or fender bender can cause gridlock in a town.
It should not be that passengers have to wait on public transportation for over three hours.
It should not be that pedestrians are forced to walk in the roads because vendors take over the sidewalks.
It is important for the powers that be to have vision; people perish due to lack of vision. We need the various mayors in the different municipalities to get it right and employ best practices suitable for Jamaica.