Bus stops will be relocated, and there will be pedestrian streets.

MERIDA Yucatán (Times Media Mexico) – Mauricio Vila Dosal, with the support of the City of Merida, colleges of engineers, architects, habitat design, and public transport concessionaires, will carry out as of September 13th a comprehensive transformation of the Historical Center to convert the streets in pedestrian areas, in the style of European city trends.

It is a comprehensive mobility plan with actions that have never been applied in Merida’s downtown, as the governor Vila Dosal admitted, in the first days, will likely generate a road and pedestrian chaos while people identifies the location of bus-stops, but as it becomes a habit will bring several benefits to the urban image, the environment, pedestrian mobility, fuel savings, noise reduction, and better management of public transport, which will avoid crowding at the stops of buses and vans.

This new mobility plan will start to work fully on Sunday 20th when the necessary adaptations to the streets selected for this strategy are completed.

It is a mobility plan that takes on special relevance because for many years, there had been attempts to carry out various interventions of this type, but for various reasons had not been able to be carried out, said the governor during the presentation of this strategy that seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 by dispersing the users of public transport.

“Today times have changed”, he said, “we are facing extraordinary circumstances where we all have to add wills, privilege dialogue, and build agreements like the one we are signing today”.

In the plans presented by the director of the Institute of Mobility, Urban Development Territorial, Aref Karam Espósitos, the central part of the mobility plan is the removal of all the stops on the streets of the first frame so that the sidewalks are free for pedestrians, free access to stores in the Center and to limit the movement of private cars.

With this plan, the Plaza Grande’s surroundings will be free of vehicles of urban transport that cause road chaos and traffic accidents due to the narrowness of the crossroads and sidewalks. Also excessive noise, and environmental pollution due to the engines of old buses without the corresponding maintenance.

The bus stops will be moved in a quadrant far from the Plaza Grande and with a rearrangement of routes that will allow buses and vans to go to the cardinal points that correspond to their routes. The routes will no longer be intertwined, but all of them will be oriented so that they will go to their return destinations when they are full.

According to the relocation map presented by Aref Karam, buses and vans of the western routes will have their stops on 66th Street, from 65th to 59th; those of the South, on 71st Street, from 68th to 52nd; those of the East, on 50th Street, from 71st to 55th, and North, on 55th Street, from 64th to 52nd.

There will be a drop zone in all these routes before the units arrive at the stops to avoid accumulation between those going up and those going down.

As a complementary part of the relocation of stops outside the Center, the state government determined main pedestrian streets where only people will walk and have as urban equipment trees in pots. There will also be semi-pedestrian streets with only one lane for motor vehicles and expansion of pedestrian areas delimited with rows of ornamental trees that project shade; there will be “calm traffic” streets where the speed limit will be 30 kilometers per hour, which will still have tree-lined boundaries and streets exclusively for public transportation buses.

It was reported that the Municipal Police would be in charge of the control of roads and pedestrian areas. Still, the state government will deploy a large group of men and women in green vests to guide users on the sites where the stops were left and also urge the proper use of the mouthpiece, mask for greater protection, and antibacterial gel, as they do now the collaborators know as “the Health Friends.”

The governor was the most enthusiastic about this mobility plan because it is an integral and articulated intervention that will help to have a balance between a safe Historical Center for the health of all, modern and vanguard, and a Historical Center that maintains its commercial activity that allows the generation of income for many families.

In his opinion, this is well thought out so as not to affect the vitality and dynamism that make Merida’s Historic Center so special and unique, which will continue to be preserved as the axis of economic and cultural activity in the state capital, and where Yucatecans and visitors will return to live together as soon as the pandemic is overcome.

Vila Dosal said he knows that these measures will bring about a change that will impact culture and, particularly, how people move around the Historical Center. In some cases, it will surely be difficult to adapt to these new measures. However, he asked for patience and solidarity in the face of these changes and that they are assured that these efforts of his government are to take care of the health of all.

“We have to put aside personal interests, we have to put aside economic interests, we have to put aside political interests for this to work,” said Vila.

Those who endorsed this plan with their signature are Mayor Renan Barrera, the leaders of the Union and Alliance of Truckers of Yucatan, Rápidos de Merida, Minis 2000, Yucatan College of Architects, College of Civil Engineers, Business Coordinating Council, Michel Salum Francis; the rector of the Model University, Carlos Sauri Duch; by the Patronage of the Historical Center, Enrique Ancona Teigel; the Observatory of Sustainable Mobility of Merida, Eduardo Monsreal Toraya; the Association of Designers of Habitat and Urbanism, Daniel Antonio Magaña Lozano; the Secretary-General of Government, María Fritz Sierra, and the Director of Imdut.