Academics optimistic that Mérida’s Centro’s problems can be solved

Mérida's Centro is commonly clogged with traffic. Photo: Diario de Yucatán
Mérida’s Centro is commonly clogged with traffic. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

A panel of academics has weighed in on the Centro’s traffic woes, concluding that the problems are real, but solvable.

Silvana Porti Sosa, María del Carmen Delgado Carranza and Yameli Aguilar Duarte headed a seminar called “Sustainable Historic Centers, Mobility and Transport, Public Spaces and Shops” at the Peninsular Center in Humanities and Social Sciences (Cephcis) of the UNAM.

The core of the problem is excessive vehicular traffic, but they offered hope that these serious problems can be solved with work and political will between the academics, elected officials and society.

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“The problems of the Centro have a solution,” said Porti Sosa, a member of the Mayab Urban Laboratory at Modelo University, which has successfully tested two mobility prototypes in the Las Americas and Avenida 128.

“The problem of mobility is that it is addressed in a segmented manner and the authorities are disconnected from the context. It is that way, public transport goes on the one hand and the safe use of the bicycle and pedestrianization go on the other side,” she said.

She agreed that Mérida’s Centro has pollution, excessive noise, dangers for pedestrians, a high rate of road incidents, blocked sidewalks, excess traffic and a regulatory framework that is lacking.

Dr. Porti Sosa offered data that for her is worrying: in 2017 more than 1,000 road incidents occurred in the Centro, many resulting in death or injury.

All this could have been avoided with a mobility system that gives priority to pedestrians and people who use non-motorized vehicles, she said.

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“Improving mobility implies having the appropriate regulatory framework for sustainable mobility, not only in the Centro but throughout the city,” she said. “Have an adequate institutional architecture to lead the issue of mobility. Currently it is fragmented and disconnected; there is the Transport Directorate that oversees the public transport, but everything else? Who knows who is in charge.”

Also suggested: Low-carbon urban buses and with engines that produce the least noise; bicycle and ample pedestrian lanes; and speed limits that keep traffic to 20-30 kph in some areas.

No money is no excuse. She suggested that many problems that affect the Historic Center in terms of mobility are not because of a lack of budget, but rather the lack of political vision.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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