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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Proposed: Turn Calle 47 into a pedestrian-only zone

East-west walking path would link Mayan Train station stop with the Paseo Montejo, and pass by a burgeoning restaurant row

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Calle 47, near 52, is a mix of bars, restaurants, hostels and hotels. Photo: Courtesy

Merida, Yucatan — Another proposal to turn a busy Centro street into a pedestrian path has been floated.

This time, the mayor wants to convert Calle 47, from the Paseo de Montejo, past Parque Santa Ana and several restaurants, all the way to La Plancha.

The abandoned rail yards at La Plancha have been set aside to be a park, but may also incorporate a Mayan Train station stop for tourists.

“Those of us who have known this city for many years have seen how Calle 47 has evolved, and there are restaurants, boutique hotels, entertainment venues of a very good standard and quality … that route that has natural, organic tourist potential,” Mayor Renan Barrera Concha told a reporter from Diario de Yucatan.

Streets around the world have revived their downtowns by blocking vehicular traffic on a major road. Campeche’s capital city has one such street, and art has been installed where cars and trucks once passed.

Turning Calle 47 into a pedestrian mall would welcome foot traffic, but would strand residents who still live on the five blocks that are converted, and sacrifice street parking. It would also complicate deliveries to establishment in the center of the block. No service roads run at the rear of any of the properties that would be affected, so trucks would possibly be permitted only within certain hours.

But Merida by now should be conditioned to large-scale street closures. Long stretches of Calle 60 and the Paseo de Montejo close down each Sunday for BiciRuta.

And small-scale pedestrian malls already exist at Pasaje Revolucion, between the Cathedral and the Macay museum, Pasaje Emilio Seijo at Calle 63-A between 60 and 68, Segunda Calle Nueva on 63-A between 56 and 58, and Eulogio Rosado and the Edificio de Correos, both near the city’s main market, and meant for everyday citizens.

Past proposals to convert more busy streets into pedestrian-only thoroughfares have focused closer to the Plaza Grande, either on Calle 60 or 58.

A years-old study by road safety engineer René Flores Ayora sought to free up Calle 58, from 63 to 67, an idea meant to benefit everyday shoppers, not tourists and pleasure seekers.

Calle 47 is a major east-west corridor, but more so on the other side of the Paseo de Montejo.

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