Senator-elect Basil Ottley Already at Work on St. John Issues

The U.S. Customs parking lot, above, exemplifies Cruz Bay’s growing congestion problem.

Almost a month before the inauguration, Democrat District Senator-elect Basil Ottley Jr. is already working hard to solve some of St. John’s most pressing problems.

Ottley and two transit consultants were in Cruz Bay on Wednesday, December 13, assessing the town’s parking and traffic issues.

“I want to make sure some of the issues on St. John have a priority,” said Ottley. “We are looking at the Cruz Bay situation as far as dynamics between tour operators, taxi drivers and villa management company owners. We’re looking at the movement of people.”

Listening To People
Throughout his campaign, Ottley heard numerous complaints about the parking issue from St. John residents, he explained.

“I heard this throughout the campaign and I was listening to the people,” said Ottley. “I wanted to come over and see the problems that are taking away from the beautiful experience of visiting this island.”

If the parking issue is not taken care of soon, it will lead to bigger problems, Ottley added.

“If we don’t get a handle on this, it will really create greater tension,” the senator-elect said. “It’s going to be bigger than just a parking issue, it will become a quality of life and an economic issue.”

Meeting with Stakeholders
While in Cruz Bay Ottley and the two state-side parking experts — who have worked on transit issues in growing urban areas from Washington, D.C., to Columbia, South Carolina — travelled throughout town and met with a number of residents, Ottley explained.

“We are assessing the issue right now,” he said. “We’re doing an analysis of the parking studies done in the past. We’re getting a sense of what is going on and meeting with key stakeholders.”

“We want to see where we can take this,” Ottley continued. “We want to head in the right direction and be prepared to propose legislation to solve this problem.”

The senator-elect said he is dedicated to keeping St. John issues at the forefront of politics.

“I want to make sure that the St. John circumstances are paid particular attention to and to get a closer sense of what is happening over here,” said Ottley. “I want to create solutions.”

Not Unique To Love City
While the parking situation in Cruz Bay is serious, it’s not the only town where such an issue has arose, according to one of the transit experts who wished to not be identified.

“The unique circumstances that exist here also exist in other cities,” said the transit consultant. “It’s gotten to a point where you have 12 pounds in a 10-pound bag. In order to maintain a viable economic community you need organized parking and transportation.”

“This is really about providing a legitimate solution to these issues,” said Ottley.