There has been quite the drama and controversy going on here in Merida. I’d say it started about 9 months ago, mas o menos. The Mayor decided to have an underpass/tunnel/tunel constructed at a very busy intersection where there was a large fountain roundabout/glorietta.
The tunel project was met with significant resistence. As best I can tell with my limited ability to actually comprehend what I read – The resistence to this project was that there was no community input, no amount of time for citizens to be involved. Plans were not put out for review or debate. No fair opportunity for bids on the work, etc, etc, etc. No discernable plan for the water that would accumulate due to heavy rainfall in a city where flooded intersections cause serious damage and injury.. The political parties here (PAN, PRI) are so completely opposed to what each other does that it wouldn’t matter what good could come, they’d fight about it!
I don’t really know all the details. But it wasn’t pretty – there was name calling, there were and are accusations, there were riots, people were hurt…it got ugly.
Just shortly before this project was announced a rather serious renovation of the fountain took place. All that work, wasted! Merida was named a City of Peace, and the plaque and a monument to this designation was placed at this glorietta.
Well the other day in the paper I saw a photo of people being allowed to approach and stroll on the above ground areas that are nearly complete. Prior to these photos, as I understand it, pedestrians were restricted.
Well Tom and I happened to be up in that area on Sunday and as we were passing I said, “why don’t we stop and see how it looks?” So stop we did.
The above ground areas, with wide sidewalks, pedestrian crossings to allow safe transit from one side to the other, the fountain, increased lighting and one lane in each direction. It is visible that there will be 2 lanes in each direction below ground for the straight through traffic, the single lanes in each direction above ground are for the turning traffic. Tom and I paced off these upper lanes, and they appear to be about 11feet wide. Not quite wide enough to allow safe passage for both vehicles and bicycles. Really, really to bad that proper bike lanes were not included. Perhaps with citizen input this would not have been overlooked.
I don’t have a significant opinion one way or the other – I don’t know enough about due process here to say if things were strong armed or if the design is thorough. I do know that serious flooding did occur during construction. I don’t know if proper drainage was included. I do know that it is attractive, safer for pedestrians IF they use the cross overs. And on Sunday evening I did see quite a few families strolling about. The lanes look quite narrow, and with drivers propensity to drive 3-5 abreast on 2 lanes, well, I just see lots of fender benders; And seriously injured if not dead bicyclists.
Anyway, I took a few photos.
|long view – North to South|
|2 lanes in each direction below. separated by a channel/canal.|
|there is this canal between the two lanes each going North and South. It doesn’t appear to be for drainage as it was full of cement and debris.|
|lots of water, pumps running, lots of cement being poured.|
|this is a traffic lane. As you can see, not very wide. I fear A bicyclist will be in mortal danger on this lane.|