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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Traffic doesn’t take a holiday in Merida’s Centro

Official admits city hasn't figured out how to handle congestion during special events

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A policeman directs traffic on Calle 54 and 47 during Noche Blanca in Merida. Photo: Lee Steele

Merida, Yucatan — Driving in the Centro is tricky almost any day. When the holidays come, it’s even worse.

Now in the middle of the holiday season, the Historic Center’s narrow lanes and sidewalks have loads of public events, street vendors and eager tourists. What it doesn’t have loads of is space for walking, driving or parking.

The recent Noche Blanca, for example, drew an estimated 40,000 people to the Centro. City police did duty as traffic cops at several intersections. 

And their bosses are trying to figure out how to maintain order when the Centro is celebrating.

Merida’s Municipal Police estimate an average of 12,500 visitors converge on the Centro each hour during the Christmas season. They come not just for special evening events, but for midday holiday shopping. Before Dec. 31, police say up to 2 million people will have swarmed the Centro.

The crush makes it tough for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Shuttle buses aren’t keeping up. City officials admitted in a Sipse report that the mobility of people during Noche Blanca, particularly between the parks, was not entirely satisfactory.

Culture Director Irving Berlín Villafaña said the city needs to explore new options to get visitors from Point A to Point B during events like Noche Blanca. 

Mobility in the Historic Center during popular events such as concerts, road races and the Bici-Ruta, as well as the Christmas season, remain an unresolved issue for the government, Sipse reports.

With information from Sipse Yucatan News

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