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Pedestrian streets to displace buses, cars in Merida’s historic center

Bustling Centro will help social distancing among busy shoppers and workers

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Merida’s Centro Historico is turning busy streets into more pedestrian-friendly spaces to help stem the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Courtesy

Wider pedestrian paths and rerouted buses with fewer stops are two key elements of an “Urban Mobility Improvement Plan” that begins Sunday, Sept. 13 in the historic center.

The mobility plan had been promised along with a raft of new regulations meant to propel Yucatan past the coronavirus crisis.

The crowded Centro Histórico’s narrow sidewalks will spill out into the street, delimited by orange cones or potted trees and helping shoppers maintain personal space.

Buses won’t enter the very core of the bustling Centro. They will stop on the surrounding streets, Calle 55 to the north, 50 to the east, and 69 to the south, and 68 to the west.

Some streets will allow no cars while others will allow only buses, while “calm traffic” streets will impose low speed limits for motor vehicles, integrate bike lanes and include more cross walks.

Over objections from merchants who fear losing business, the plan was signed by Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal while imploring members of the public to give themselves time to adjust before criticizing it.

“We know that despite the time that is being given to inform and prepare there will be chaos,” said Vila Dosal. “Many people who for years took the bus in one place will now have to move, they will not like that, but I call on everyone to be patient and remember that everything we do is for health and the economy.”

A similar message was directed to his political opponents.

“Do not be mean and criticize the project three days later,” he said, clearly alluding to a similar plan in the early 1990s that was abandoned after three days following vocal protests in the Plaza Grande.

Source: Sipse

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