Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Letter of the Day | Uglifying Barbican Square as concrete jungle

Published:Saturday | January 13, 2018 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In the construction being carried out by the National Works Agency (NWA) and China Harbour Engineering Company to widen Barbican Road and East King's House Road around the present roundabout, it is appalling to see that they are building continuous concrete barriers, approximately two and a half feet high, in the middle of the streets.

These types of barriers are normally used in highway construction to separate lanes of speeding cars, but are totally inappropriate for use in city streets, as they are visually offensive and are a physical and psychological obstacle to the movement and interaction of pedestrian activities on both sides of the street.

The combination of the use of these concrete barriers and the continued practice of installing obstructive and unsightly utility poles, with overhead cables and JPS power lines and transformers, will only serve to destroy the potential of the Barbican Square area to be transformed into a functional, pedestrian-friendly, vibrant and aesthetic urban node.

The extensive work being done in this area was an opportunity to incorporate proper urban planning and design to radically improve the overall character of the surroundings, and to be an example for improving other neighbourhoods in Kingston and St Andrew. Instead, what is being done is only adding to the blight. This is what results when there is an absence of a coordinated approach to urban development, and where the Town Planning Department at the National Environment and Planning Agency, is either defunct or missing in action.

Kingston can never become a good city, for people to "live, work, do business and raise families" if it is continually being degraded by perpetual and futile road widening, carried out in a thoughtless manner.

I am calling on our Government to immediately remove these concrete barriers from our city streets, and to urgently get NEPA and other stakeholders involved in planning and design discussions to guide the decisions of the NWA going forward.

CLIFTON YAP (CD)

Registered Architect