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New bus routes shift the noise to once-quiet streets

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A municipal video posted on social media shows city workers at night, in front of Merida’s downtown Chapur, painting in stenciled lines to allow for better pedestrian flow.

“Non-bus streets” became “bus streets” and vice-versa in the Centro today as the first stage of Merida’s Urban Mobility Improvement Plan was put into action.

Today the more than 200 routes that converge in the center of the Yucatecan capital were relocated. Some residents cheered at the newly found peace on their streets.

Others found noise and pollution from idling buses a major annoyance, changing the character of their streets.

“There are going to be a lot of unhappy homeowners,” a Santiago resident told YEL.

The reallocation of bus stops and routes has instantly eased crowding in the heart of the Centro Historico, a bustling area where fear of coronavirus spread is constant.

Merida’s new bus routes unclog the Centro while shifting the traffic to other streets, many residential.

But the buses didn’t disappear, they just moved. Residents on Calle 61 between 42 and 44 told local media that they will formally complain. Aside from pollution and noise, residents there lost the ability to park their cars in front of their homes. Others, with garages, will find them blocked by buses clogging the street.

Bus drivers, however, said their travel times will be reduced as they can skip at least six streets. That will be reflected in lower fuel consumption, some told Punto Medio.

“On Friday I tested the pattern and now the journey from the Centro to Yucalpetén was 20 minutes out and 20 back,” said a driver, who assured that passengers will get used to the new system.

Buses with acrylic dividers can allow passengers in all the seats, although standing will no longer be allowed. Combis with dividers can carry up to 10 people, but only eight without.

Ayuntamerida social media outlets showed road crews at night painting yellow markers in the street to demarcate new pedestrian paths. On Calle 59 between 52 and 50 the delimitation was made with orange cones. Potted trees, indicated in some renderings as creating footpaths, started to appear on Sunday as well.

With information from Punto Medio

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