If you know me or have been reading my blog for a while you know I love Mazatlán and have been very happy living here for the last five years. In general I am a happy person and see the world in a positive light. So when I’m grumpy, you know that something is up.
You may have read my posts about the new Tourist Corridor in Centro – lots of new sidewalks, street pavers, lighting, and benches. It looks pretty good now although the process was dirty and painful for those of us who tried to walk or drive in Centro this summer.
Since the project was completed, I have been waiting and waiting for the traffic revisions needed during construction to be changed back to the way they were. It hasn’t happened. Well, at least it hasn’t happened for Calle Belisario Dominguez between Zaragoza and 21 de Marzo.
In the past, busses only used Belisario Dominguez when there was a traffic revision for Carnaval, a marathon, or a parade. The rest of the time it is a very busy thoroughfare through town but only for normal traffic. This is a historic street in Centro – formerly called Calle Principal, and it is home to some of the most historic houses in town, too.
In the past, busses on Zaragoza would turn South either on Serdan or on Guillermo Nelson. Some would turn onto Belisario Dominguez at 21 de Marzo. Now it seems they are all being directed down Belisario Dominguez. Guillermo Nelson is three blocks East of Belisario Dominguez and is closer to the main mercado, lots of shopping, the post office, government offices and the cathedral. Pretty much everyone who gets off a bus on Belisario heads East on foot to these destinations.
So that I’m not accused of being a totally NIMBY person… (that stands for Not In My Back Yard) these five blocks have one clinic (with an ambulance) and two schools – Collegio Valladolid and Primaria Augustina Ramirez. Agustina Ramirez runs two shifts of students – primaria in the morning until 1 pm and older kids in the afternoon from 2 to 8 pm.
Last year it was nice to see the city caring about the welfare of these children as they came and installed speed bumps in front of each of the schools to slow traffic and also installed clearly marked painted crosswalks.
I have taken bus counts during two periods this week: from 9:30 to 10:30 am on Tuesday 20 busses drove down the street (1 every 3 minutes) and on Wednesday from 3 to 4 pm there were 26 – which is almost one ever other minute. That’s a lot! Multiply 23 busses an hour times 16 hours (even thought many go all night) that means 368 busses per day! That’s a lot!
Aside from these schools and the clinic, the street is primarily residential. Most of us find parking challenging (I almost cried today as cars and busses kept crowding by as I attempted to parallel park…) and the water delivery trucks and trucks that deliver to the tiendas nearby all find it aggravating, I’m sure. Today I went over to Guillermo Nelson and it is empty! Grrr!
But no matter the inconvenience there’s the issue of the kids. How can they possibly hear their lessons with so much additional and noisy traffic? What about their safety, and the safety of their parents as they drive or walk to bring them and pick them up? It will be dark when they come and go to school soon, and it will be a miracle if someone isn’t hurt.
I have written several letters to the city and asked for advice from long time Mazatlecans. I haven’t received a response from the city yet, but I’m not giving up. There’s absolutely no reason that these busses can’t go back to their previous routes. It just takes someone of authority to make the decision and implement it.
I will continue my effort to approach the city and will continue talking to my neighbors, too. It’s times like this that I wish I had put more effort into my studies as my Spanish is only at an intermediate level which makes some of these conversations challenging.
I know the longer this goes without being changed the more unlikely it is to be changed. No one wants to see kids get hurt, and in my opinion it is almost inevitable with these conditions.
Below is a video from a couple of days ago around 1:30 when most of the little ones have left the school and the bigger kids are arriving. It truly gives you the idea of the how much traffic there is here, both on foot and by vehicles. Ya basta!