Link proposed between Biciruta and La Plancha park

Mérida's popular Biciruta program is proposed to be extended to include the La Plancha site.
Mérida’s popular Biciruta program is proposed to be extended to include the La Plancha site.

Mérida, Yucatán — The popular Sunday Biciruta program should be expanded so that bike riders see the potential of the stalled La Plancha project.

That’s the proposal officially received this week by the mayor’s office in a letter signed by Gran Parque La Plancha, A. C. President Félix Rubio Villanueva.

Grass roots organizers have kept the concept alive — converting a large-scale parcel of land from a barren tract into a green space.

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East of the Centro, the site is north of the old train station between Calles 55 and 43, and Calles 48 and 46. The elegant 1920 train station, out of commission since 1993, opened as an art school in 2007.

La Plancha has been called the last large piece of land close to downtown that is suitable for a park. But plans are on hold as the state negotiates with the concession-holder who, under contract, has control under the state-owned parcel.

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In part, the letter reads:

The importance of our request lies in the desire to involve the citizens in the park through the bike path, which would be in full compliance with the municipal plan for sustainable mobility. … For the implementation of Gran Park la Plancha, obviously the commitment of the municipal and municipal governments is needed. Today we remember the commitment [the mayor] made to our cause when he was still a candidate for the municipal presidency … you told us that when the time came, we would obtain your support for the realization of this dream. The moment has come, and we respectfully ask you to approve our request.

The Biciruta (or Bici-Ruta) is a city program that for the last 11 years has encouraged citizens to enjoy the fresh air on Sunday mornings. The Paseo de Montejo, Calle 60 and other connected streets are closed to vehicular traffic to make way for people on bikes, rollerblades or skates.

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More recently the program has been extended to a Saturday-night schedule once a month, and a petition in a local newspaper showed wide support for duplicating the program in other parts of the city.

As many as 3,000 people pedal up the Paseo each week, according to city estimates.

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