Mobility Problems and a Public Parking on the Block
By Jesús Aguado
The parking problem in the city has finally been accepted by the local authorities. They now recognize that there is a vehicular mobility problem. To complicate matters, El Cardo, the biggest parking lot in San Miguel (630 vehicles), is up for auction and the new use of the property after the sale is unknown.
A result of the parking problems in the Historic Center, the local administration decided to limit the parking time (from one to two hours) on some streets of the city. On January 10 this year, the officers from the traffic department started removing vehicle plates after cars were parked on certain streets for more than one hour. The fine went from two to ten times the minimum wage (146–730 pesos).
The options given by the Traffic Department to those seeking to park were for users to have a better organization of their schedule while they were in El Centro to avoid exceeding the allocated time or to find a parking spot beyond the restricted areas or to walk. Placing parking meters was also a proposal.
Previously, Samuel Mercadillo told Atención that in the World Heritage area and its buffer streets, there are only 1,351 parking spots. There are 1,806 more in the 20 public parking lots (the biggest is El Cardo, with space for 630 vehicles). The director also mentioned figures from the National Institute of Statistics which, he said, recorded that there were 38,871 vehicles in San Miguel in 2014, not counting those in transit through the city.
The drivers—visitors and residents—have complained of the city’s growing traffic problems. Additionally, now that El Cardo parking lot is in public auction, the use that the new owners will have for it (once sold) is unknown. The property of more than 15,000 square meters, belonging to the state government, has an initial bidding price starting at 181 million pesos.
Exchange with the local administration?
When Atención asked Mayor Ricardo Villarreal if the local administration could buy the property or have an exchange with the state government, Villarreal said, “The parking lot belongs to the State Institute of Social Security. We cannot participate in the auction because we do not have that amount of money. Also, we cannot interfere in the sale because it is not ours.”
Villarreal acknowledged that there is a mobility problem in the city because “in the last ten years the administration did not develop infrastructure to prevent it.” He said that now, to solve the problem, the boulevard de la Conspiración is being renovated and widened. The new boulevard also will include bike trails. Villarreal said as well that “important negotiations” are in progress in order to buy some land on the road to Dolores.” The idea is to build a new parking lot. “We need to find the best alternatives to avoid the entrance of vehicles to El Centro. Visitors are more than welcome to the city, but they will have to leave their cars at the entrance of San Miguel. They will enjoy the city more if they walk,” he remarked.
Mayor Villarreal assured that the building that now shelters the offices of the Sanitary Jurisdiction on calle Reloj belongs to Sanmiguelenses. “That is ours,” he highlighted, and that is the reason why he is working with the Secretariat of Public Health to relocate those services and then use that space as a parking lot.
To solve the traffic problems, Villarreal also mentioned the construction—in progress—of the Center for Visitors’ Attention (situated next to the Ministerio Público on the boulevard de la Conspiración), which will have one thousand parking spaces. “The city is made to visit [by] walking,” he said, assuring that in the weeks to come he will have a meeting with all those interested in solving the traffic problems in order to hear ideas and find a solution.
Mayor Villarreal will meet with citizens—in an event open to the general public—on Wednesday, August 24, at 9:30am at El Sindicato (Recreo 4).