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9.2 Paths and nodes

The entrance roads form the major traffic axes in the city of Roseau. The streets are, however, generally narrow and congested. For convenience, most of the major streets are one-way for vehicle traffic. To cross the Roseau River those travelling from Inner City to Potter's Ville use the lower bridge, and those travelling to opposite direction use the upper bridge (driving in Dominica is on the left side of the road).

Due to the irregular structure of the Inner City grid, however, there exist no straight street lines that would traverse the whole city. Only notable exception is King George V Street which heads from the Bay Front to Valley Road. On the other hand, traffic to the opposite direction has to turn right in the corner of Valley and Bath Roads and take Cork Street to the Bay Front. Most of the traffic, however, traverses Inner City in the NW-SE direction where the situation is even more complicated. Those heading from Potter's Ville to Newtown direction can do it quite easily by taking Queen Mary Street to Bath Road and follow it to Victoria Street. For the opposite direction, Victoria Street leads to the Bay Front which is the most widest street in the city--and also two-way. But to get to Potter's Ville direction one has to turn first to Kennedy Avenue and the to Great George Street to reach the bridge over Roseau River. The complicated traffic paths increase the congestion in the narrow streets of the Inner City.

Commercial activity is most intense on the sides of these traffic axes and especially at the their crossroads (see Fig. 22). Kennedy Avenue, Cork Street, and King George V Street are bordered with a variety of retail business, as well as Great George Street and Queen Mary Street in the other direction. Most notable exception to that is Old Street. With some large supermarkets like those of H.H.V. Whitchurch, Courts, and Grand Bazaar--the so-called 'Old Street Posse'--and many smaller businesses Old Street can be regarded as the major shopping street in Roseau (Fig. 23; see also Fig. 40).

Location between the old small grid and the larger newer one makes Old Street the major discontinuity line for vertical (SW-NE) streets (see Chapter 8.2). In addition to its central location in the grid, this is probably the reason that makes Old Street the most important business street. Many small streets leading to Old Street bring there a large amount of pedestrians whose journey is interrupted by the friction caused by the discontinuity line which Old Street creates. Six T-crossroads and three X-crossroads in 240 meters (800 feet), which is the length of the wider part of Old Street, force pedestrians to walk at least a small portion of the street to continue their way. Similarily, a steady influx of automobiles occurs but for motorised vehicles fine grain of the grid combined with irregular street network creates a very complex driving environment.

 
Functionally, Old Street is the major node of Roseau (Fig. 23). However, it lacks the pointlike character which Lynch (
1960: 72) attributes to a node. If one point along Old Street is to be chosen as the node of Roseau that would probably be the corner of Kennedy Avenue where two important business streets meet. What Roseau lacks, however, is a central open square. In the 18th century Roseau there was a market place in the heart of the city. Crooked streets of the French Quarter lead to the Old Market Square which once was the node of the city. Nowadays the square is surrounded by congested vehicle traffic and iron fences that lessen the pedestrian access to the square. It is nowadays most conveniently reached from the Bay Front and the cruise ship berth. Hence it serves almost exclusively the cruise ship tourists.

New Market in the corner of the Bay Front and Riverside is the hub of local commercial activity on Saturday mornings (Fig. 24). Its location in the westernmost corner of the Inner City, however, and lack of other commercial services around it prevents it from becoming a central square of the whole city.

Independence Square in the corner of River Bank and Queen Mary Street is the latest attempt to provide Roseau with a square. It is located next to the E.O. Loblack bridge which is the most important entrance to the Inner City. Its location is, however, peripheral in regard to the central district, and it is not developed as a central square, anyway (see Independence... 1999). Development of the Riverside area, however, may enhance its relative location in the future (see Chapter 13). That could also improve the nodal status of the Market Square located in the corner of the Bay Front and the Riverside.

Angie Winston (2000) has proposed civil square on a currently empty lot opposite to the Government Headquarters and the Arawak Culture House on Kennedy Avenue. Her plan would involve relocation of the Court House from the Bay Front to the site. By concentrating several public institutions into the vicinity of each others one could indeed create a new square with its own distinctive profile in the city. Nevertheless, the site is now designed for a Financial Centre, the construction of which has began at February 2001 (Ground... 2001).



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