East St. business irate over median
Several East Street business owners are claiming that a median strip, which has been placed between the junction at Robinson Road and the Independence Highway roundabout, is blocking access to their businesses.
The business owners, who have been complaining about the impact of roadworks in the area on their businesses for the past two years, met with Public Works Minister Neko Grant yesterday to voice their concerns, but according to the owner of Steve’s Café Steve Beneby, they were simply told “what’s done is done”.
“He [the minister] said to us, that’s how it is and that is how it is going to stay. That is unacceptable, so I think we need to try our case in the court of public opinion,” said Beneby.
“All of us have been impacted by the median. We have been patiently waiting for this road works to finally be completed and then they spring this one on us. We understand the logic to what they are trying to do, but they did not look at how this was going to impact the businesses on this road. I employ about 15 people and they are going to be impacted by this, but it seems as if no one cares.”
The Nassau Guardian spoke with Grant yesterday, who said the median strip was specifically placed there to prevent right turns as two-lane traffic flows both north and south.
He said any attempt to turn right along that road might cause an accident or a disruption in traffic.
Christal Ferguson, a cosmetologist at Bahamian Coiffeur, said the median will stagnant her business’ growth.
“My business is located on the eastern side of the road, but to get to it I now have to turn onto Robinson Road and make a u-turn. This is not a political stance… this is my livelihood. As a young person, this is going to stagnate my business’ growth,” said Ferguson.
She said she is also disappointed with what appears to be the minister’s lack of concern.
“The minister was not sensitive to our concerns. I believe that he had already made up in his mind that he was not going to change anything before we even got there. I guess we’ll have to make the best out of this situation,” said Ferguson.
The business owners said if something is not done, many of them might be forced to close their businesses.
“My business may not be seriously impacted due to the median because we have consistent clients, but I feel for other businesses like Steves Café’. Food is an option to people, they are not going stop if they don’t have to,” said Ferguson.
Manager of Universal Beauty Supply store, Larvado Wilmot, said he is now struggling to keep his business afloat.
“[Before the road works] any business day we had about 10 to 15 people an hour, but now we get only about one customer an hour. If we don’t have something that a person really wants they are not going to come to our store,” said Wilmot.
Barbra Johnson, Manager of Barbie’s Hair and Nails Studio, said the median is a major inconvenience to her customers.
“I have no problem with the road works. I have a problem with the median because there is no break to get to and from my store, without having to go all the way around. There are 14 stores in the plaza across the street and there is no break to get into that plaza. That is unacceptable,” said Johnson.
Harry Rolle of Central Plumbing shared similar sentiments.
“People are forced to go all the way to the junction at Robinson Road and then come through Ridgeland Park just to turn around to get to us,” said Rolle.