The road to St. Mary College at Vaimoso, which will now be used as the official right turn for motorists heading to Vaimoso-uta and Singamoga, is not a public road.
And if you plan to take it during Vaimoso’s curfew in the evening, be prepared to stop.
So said Manuleleua Asiata Ioane in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
The issue has surfaced after plans by the Land Transport Authority were publicised yesterday about changes to road laws for turning right at the traffic lights at Vaimoso.
Vehicles are no longer allowed to turn right at the set of lights. Rather they have been told to take the St. Mary’s Road if they want to turn right.
But Manuleleua said the Land Transport Authority should have consulted with the Vaimoso Village Council first.
“This is not a public road,” he said.
“This road was used as an access road for the village and when the school was established in our village, that was when the road was fixed.”
The Vaimoso matai said they are surprised by the plan.
“The village has decided that nothing will change, during curfew times, the road will be blocked,” he said.
“No big trucks can go through this road unless it is going directly to people living in the area.”
According to Manuleleua, the Vaimoso Village Council met on Saturday to finalise their decision.
“And so today (yesterday) was the first time the Village met with the officials of the L.T.A. including the C.E.O.
“This could have been avoided, had they met with the Village Council or the Minister could have come and meet with the Chiefs of Vaimoso. They would have found out from us that this specific road is not a pubic road or a main road.
“They informed us the road is now called Sogi Street, now that is unacceptable.
“This road belongs to Vaimoso and it will not be called Sogi Street.”
According to Manuleleua, they are concerned about this specific part of the road that is being publicly announced as the main road.
“We all know drivers do not heed the speed limit,” he said. “This road is the direction to the school and so when drivers take this road, they think it’s the main road and they speed; hence making it unsafe for pedestrians.
“We have students who cross this road all the time and so it is not safe for drivers to utilize this road daily thinking it’s the main road.
“Not only that people living in the area walk on this road, and if it’s being used as a main road, then there should be some changes that L.T.A. needs to follow.”
The Vaimoso High Chief said during their meeting, they discussed the “mandates” by the Village Council.
“We have asked them to put in place speed bumps on this area, to stop the drivers from driving fast. And again we will not allow anyone driving through this road during curfew time at 7:15pm until 7:30pm.”
But L.T.A. Chief Executive Officer, Leasi Vainalepa Galuvao, disagrees saying the road in question is a public road.
“That has been a practice with many villages having evening curfews.
“All those roads are public roads but Government have allowed villages to have these evening curfews for evening prayers etc., within the village.
“Vaimoso village have advised that their curfew will remain and we will have to advise people trying to access Vaimea Road (through Nelesoni St) to use alternate routes at Lepea and Pesega.”
According to Leasi they consulted the Village.
“If you can remember the day we had our Press Conference here at the L.T.A. offices to introduce the change; that was 2nd October.
“On the 3rd October, we called a consultation with the Village and the village was represented by the Village Mayor (Sui o le Nu’u) and E.F.K.S. Reverend.
“The changes were then made known and all were in support of it.
“There are still a few signs /speed humps etc., to be installed and these will be installed soon,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“We will be monitoring the situation throughout the next 2 weeks and make appropriate changes where necessary,” said the L.T.A. C.E.O.
He concluded by thanking members of the general public and everyone including the Village of Vaimoso for their patience and understanding as they work to improve the traffic congestion problems along Vaitele Street.
“We also thank the media as well for the continued awareness for this change so everyone is informed and aware of it.”