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10.3 Streets

In Central Roseau where there are most people, there are most streets, too. However, a peculiar system of two grids inside each other is developed in the Downtown area (see
Chapter 8.2 for the physical features of the system). Generally, every other street is a wide one and every other--usually called 'lanes'--is a narrow one. These streets and lanes differ from each other also functionally.

The wide streets of the Downtown are the major commercial streets (see Fig. 23). The narrow lanes are mostly residential streets. Nevertheless, commerce is done on them, too. Lanes like Fields Lane, Kings Lane and Upper Lane have small shops like shoemaker's or tailor's shops, or clothes shops. On the lanes the shops do not usually have such big signs as they do have on the shopping streets where they have to distinguish from the other establishments. Sometimes only a small sign is on a lane, and the shop itself might be in the backyard (Fig. 35).

Small grocery stores are found everywhere in the city except the upper parts of Goodwill. Often the only sign of a shop is a license table on the wall and open door to the street. The shop itself is in most cases only one room, and in the districts outside Central Roseau there is often also another room which is a small bar. In the business districts the shops have more signs and advertisements, and sometimes the whole wall is covered with them (Fig. 36).

Pedestrian moving is, on occasion, difficult in Central Roseau. The sidewalks are usually in bad repair. They are narrow, and holes and other kind of obstacles force pedestrians to driving lane. The vehicle traffic on the streets is congested but slow; partially because of the congestion, partially because of pedestrians moving between cars. Moving around by wheelchair, however, is a mere impossibility.

In some locations the whole sidewalk can be blocked by a staircase. In smaller lanes with narrow sidewalks just a few steps are enough to block the sidewalk. Often there are also people sitting on the steps, especially in the western parts of Central Roseau like River Street. Where the sidewalks are wider the staircases are bigger, too. Especially in Hillsborough Street but also in various other locations huge staircases block the whole sidewalk (Fig. 37). One can climb over some of them if one does not want to go through the driving lane but many of them, however, are climbable only from other direction.

Shillingford (1999) notes that the buildings having their staircases on the sidewalks are usually amongst the oldest in the city. They date back to the time when there was not really a street in front of them but just a space between the buildings. When the street was constructed the staircases had already been built.

In the evening, when the vehicle traffic in the streets decreases and sun is no longer shining so hot, people come to spend time in the streets. Already at about 4 or 5 p.m. children in Goodwill and Bath Estate start playing cricket, soccer, basket ball, or some other games in the smaller lanes (Fig. 38). In the Upper Bath Estate this is especially easy since the feeder lanes are usually wide and even have a green area in the middle of them. In Goodwill the lanes are narrower and there are more cars parked on the sides of them but, nevertheless, children find their places to play. At Solomon Lane in Lower Goodwill, for instance, the people have constructed a basket ball field on the lane for children.

As the sun sets more people come to the streets to spend time. Older people often sit on the stairs also daytime, especially in the Riverside area, but others are in the streets usually only to go to the work, shopping, or school. Outside Central Roseau the streets are usually deserted when darkness comes. Major exception to that is Victoria Street in Newtown where people congregate in the evenings.

In Central Roseau, too, people gather in certain places. One such area is the Bay Front where in the daytime are usually only tourists, souvenir vendors and tour operators. At night one can find local people sitting on the benches and on the wall between sidewalk and the sea. At night the Bay Front is not congested as it is on those days when there is a cruise ship on port but the people spending their time there are almost exclusively local inhabitants.

Besides to the streets, the night life of Roseau is concentrated to few locations. There are night clubs at Garraway and Fort Young hotels, and in Downtown area there are some smaller bars. At three or four nights a week there is usually a regular event in some of the bars that gathers more people, both local and foreigners, such as jazz nights on Thursdays at Symes-Zee's bar on King George V Street (Fig 39).


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