Playa del Carmen, QRoo, (June 04, 2021).- “We have to change our mentality and not be afraid to take away spaces from the car to give them to citizens,” said Carlos Marín Morales, president of the Coparmex Riviera Maya mobility commission and the Playa del Carmen citizen mobility council.
The citizen mobility council has been promoting a mobility plan for Playa del Carmen for three years, which consists of 100 kilometers of bicycle lanes within the city when it realizes that there is too much traffic and that workers take a long time to get from their homes to their jobs.
Marín Morales explained that the project presents a complete diagnosis and a strategy in the different mobility axes, which are pedestrians, bicycles, public transport, and motorized vehicles. To collect the data, they held workshops with various associations and levels of government, as well as surveys with citizens.
Part of the diagnosis made for the elaboration of the plan indicates that only 40 percent of the inhabitants of Playa del Carmen have a car, but more than 70 percent of the city is made of roads for cars, “so there is an imbalance.”
“An inhabitant of the west of the city, where the subdivision area is concentrated, can take more than one hour to get to downtown Playa by public transport, a distance of seven kilometers on average, because he does not have good mobility options, but if he rides his bicycle, it is safer and quicker to get to the center, it would take 25 or 30 minutes and at a low pace ”, he said.
The mobility council includes two committees: motorized and non-motorized mobility, and this project is monitored from there. Among the goals of this plan is, in addition to the implementation of 100 kilometers of bicycle lanes within the city, adequate stops for public transport, attacking the current disorder of public transport and better, more regulated concessions.
A solidarity transport
“There is a very important part of mobility issues, which is solidarity, giving an option to transport oneself in a safe, sustainable, healthy, and supportive way,” explained the interviewee. “By using the bike daily you are exercising, there is a health issue involved, and it is supportive because you don’t have to pay for any public transportation fees.”
Of the 100 projected kilometers, 15 have been built already, from the Villas del Sol subdivision to Plaza Las Américas: “of course it lacks many things, it still has many areas of opportunity, for signaling and improving the bike path itself, but that is a good idea of what is an adequate road for cyclists ”.
The plan is for this bike path to reach the center, which is where people move, mostly workers; and for everyone’s safety, it must be well confined and marked
“People don’t use a bicycle to get around Playa mainly because it is unsafe, not because they don’t want to. In the diagnosis, 92 percent of those surveyed were in favor of bicycle lanes in the city ”, mentioned the president of the Coparmex Riviera Maya mobility commission.
For Marín Morales, the ideal is for transportation in cities to be multimodal, with different options, where citizens can walk, use a bicycle, and have an efficient public transport system: “we also have to change our culture, promote the use of these means of transport because it is proven that the car takes up a lot of space from the city, what is sought is to reduce the use of cars and use other methods of mobility so that mobility flows better ”.
The priority now is the route from Villas del Sol to downtown Playa, because the largest number of population is concentrated there, but the cycle lane is projected in the Las Flores subdivision, CTM avenues, and Constituyentes, making the lines perpendicular so that there are connections between both and then grow towards 115 Avenue and La Guadalupana subdivision.
According to the mobility pyramid, endorsed by the United Nations (UN), the pedestrian comes first: “we must have good sidewalks, with ramps for the disabled. Currently there are many parts of the city without sidewalks and some of them are obstructed, they measure 80 centimeters when they should be two meters wide… there is much to do, ”said the interviewee.
In second place is the bicycle: “where you build a bike path you must put a good sidewalk and good trees. People think it is going to get very hot, but when you ride a bike the air cools you off, so it is not so hot, it depends on the route of course ”.
In the last place is the motor vehicle, for which the president of the citizen mobility council of Playa del Carmen urged not to be afraid of taking space from the car to give it to the citizens.
Marín Morales considered that the pandemic allowed to raise more awareness on issues such as mobility and the use of bicycles has had a boom in these months.
“The infections are mostly in public transport, where there are crowds. The bicycle is an independent means, it allows you to maintain a healthy distance ”, he declared.
A few months ago, the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) launched a call for emerging bike paths; Playa del Carmen’s citizen mobility council presented a project in conjunction with the municipality and they were selected as one of the four winning cities, out of 50 that applied nationwide.
This emerging bikeway, which has not been completed, includes a section of avenue 38 to reach the center of the city; “There are still four kilometers to go that are already authorized and have yet to be implemented,” which they hope will happen soon.
Finally, Carlos Marín Morales invited the people of Playa to ride their bikes on June 13 at 8 in the morning, starting at 38 Avenue: “the idea is to ride along the emerging bike path until you reach Villas del Sol ”.
Source: La Jornada Maya