Since Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Maarten there has been very little control over the traffic situation in Front Street. Cars and trucks are jamming up the main shopping street on the Dutch side on a daily basis with plenty of honking from impatient drivers.
Before Irma, Front Street was closed off during shopping hours and only some store owners and taxis were allowed to enter.
This restriction made for a peaceful and classy shopping experience, something you would expect as a tourist when you plan to spend thousands of dollars on jewelry or watches.
Another problem is the parking situation in and around Front Street. You would expect that at least a walk on the sidewalk would be comfortable, but unfortunately cars are parked illegally everywhere and tourists have a hard time manoeuvring through this maze of steel. Elderly tourists with a wheelchair or walker have a very difficult time passing through the street.
The sad part of all this is that merchants are already struggling to make ends meet and this kind of nastiness is totally unnecessary.
If you look for instance at the island of Aruba, the shopping street is fully closed off to any traffic which makes the shopping experience much more pleasant which elevates the incentive to spend money.
We all understand that the island is struggling financially but we're talking about simple law enforcement here. It doesn't cost money to place a barrier at the beginning of the street or to enforce parking laws. What is lacking is political willpower and the realization that if tourists stay out of the main shopping area the brand names will leave or stay away which will be devastating for this beautiful island.
Name withheld at author's request.