With the busy winter tourist season fast approaching, V.I. National Park (VINP) officials are taking a closer look at traffic congestion at parking areas and along North Shore Road.
National Park Service traffic specialists conducted a study on St. John in 2005 and recently-appointed VINP Superintendent Mark Hardgrove now plans to take another look at their recommendations.
“That traffic study has a number of recommendations which will allow us to make minor improvements to the road and parking areas to help us improve visitors’ and our locals’ safety,” said Hardgrove. “We will try to implement some of these recommendations over the next couple of years.”
Center Line on North Shore
First on the list is painting, according to the VINP superintendent.
“We’ll look at putting a center line on the road and reducing the speed limit at trail heads and parking areas,” Hardgrove said. “We’re also looking at putting lines on the side of the road to delineate the pavement.”
Hardgrove is hoping a grant will allow the park to hire an individual to work exclusively on traffic issues — and collaborate with the yet-to-be-hired St. John planner.
“I’m seeking funds for a grant to hire a Traffic Scholar,” said the VINP superintendent. “The individual would come down here and work with a planner — if the island of St. John at some point will hire a planner.”
Park and Government Collaboration
“This individual would work with the transportation providers and the planner to best serve the needs of the island visitors and residents,” Hardgrove continued.
VINP doesn’t have enough parking for all the visitors and that problem is not going away, according to Hardgrove.
“We don’t have enough parking at our destinations and it is likely that we never will,” he said. “Maybe we could run some kind of shuttle and have off-site parking. We need to have a more efficient system and our wish is to work with the taxi drivers.”