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N, Jamaica: February 16, 2015: With Negril growing as a bustling resort town, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is responding to the need for amenities to give members of the commuting public a greater sense of safety.
To this end, pedestrians and cyclists are to benefit from a dual purpose pathway allowing them freedom of movement along Norman Manley Boulevard, without fear of the risk posed by increasing vehicular traffic along the town’s main thoroughfare.
Work is progressing on the shared pathway with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and supervision by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo). The National Works Agency (NWA) is in charge of the project's implementation.
The cycle track and pedestrian walkway run parallel to each other; however, while cyclists will be riding on concrete, pedestrians will have multi-coloured pavers laid out in herring bone formation.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who was given an on-site update on the project recently, said “one of the things we knew that Negril needed from our investigation was proper sidewalks and an area where people could ride bicycles.” Minister McNeill added that "following much discussion with stakeholders a plan was mapped out to do it on the eastern side of the boulevard."
The first phase having been completed, a decision was taken to upgrade the standard of what was being laid out and Minister McNeill signed off on the second phase after he was satisfied that what was being done would be more pleasing to the people and enhance Negril’s natural beauty.
The second phase of the infrastructure improvement initiative will involve extensive work along 2.5 kilometers of the stretch and cost about $140 million. Dr. McNeill said the project will “address some critical issues.” These include drainage, which is considered very important in light of the development of buildings along the thoroughfare.
Drains and bridges leading to the area behind the buildings will now be regularized. A contract will then be awarded for landscaping along the roadway.
“I’m very pleased with what I have seen; it’s very good quality and I am going to ensure that it continues at the same level,” said Minister McNeill.
He noted further, “we’re taking these steps to enhance the tourism product of Jamaica. At this point in time we’re seeing that Jamaica is doing really well in tourism; we’re getting more visitors and the visitors are paying more. Our partners are telling us that the average daily rates are rising and one of the things that we can do to ensure that we keep raising the rates is to ensure that the product continues to be of high quality.”
Even more important, he added, “when you make your product user friendly – pedestrian friendly, jogger friendly, biker friendly – you encourage the visitors to come out more, get into the community, walk around and eat at the many shops along the way. It facilitates a greater spread of our tourism earnings in our communities and augurs well for small businesses.”