High gasoline prices on the mainland and in the Virgin Islands has caught the attention of everyone. From the poorest to the richest, the soaring gasoline prices are touching the depths of the pocket book. Everyone who drives a vehicle is seeking the lowest price even if it means driving from one state to another which has a lower price. This cannot be done in the Virgin Islands. St. Croix has a readymade source in Hovensa, but St. Thomas and St. John have to depend on barges from Puerto Rico, which translates into higher prices. Gasoline stations have to translate wholesale prices to cover operating costs and a profit. So, the vehicle driver must pay up or park his/her vehicle, but I am convinced that parking the vehicle will not happen. People want to go from their homes and to park at the door of their places of work.
Generally, people would rather pay any pump price than park the vehicle.
I have a simple suggestion for the Department of Public Works which could impact the vehicle drivers pocket. Why not create Park and Ride parking lots. Why not arrange by contract or otherwise to utilize the empty lot at Mandela's Circle as well as the landfill west of the Yacht Haven Hotel (for whatever is available), and at the Hospital if any spaces are available. Coordinate on a scheduled basis to position VITRAN buses at peak traffic hours to transport those drivers who would use the parking facilities. Fees could be charged for parking and riding.
This arrangement could ease the crunch on persons who are coming from the eastern part of the island where two-thirds of the population of St. Thomas reside. It will also ease the pursuit of the limited amount of parking spaces in the city. But the big prize would be a saving in the pocket book for drivers who must ride in the slow traffic going downtown five days a week. It will also reduce air pollution in the downtown area.
Eric E. Dawson
Fairfax, Va. 22032