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Mobility Plan Moves Slowly Forward

Samuel Mercadillo, traffic department

Miguel Alceda

Luz María Núñez

Integrantes del Consejo de Movilidad

Director de Mejora Regulatoria

Calzada de la Aurora

Ancha de San Antonio

By Jesús Aguado

A safer, air-conditioned, more comfortable public transportation line will start operations next year. Administered by the local government, it would feature five routes at a currently estimated fare of 12 pesos. The current parking lots, as well as those in the future, would be regulated, and fares would be based on their location, infrastructure, surface material, and safety measures offered to the vehicle owners. There will be parking meters in the Historic Center. A Mobility Council, will have its office at the CAV (Visitors’ Center) on the road to Querétaro. This council will be responsible for deciding how the financial resources collected from metered parking will be applied to improve the city.

The Regulations

When asked, local authorities say that they have been working on the mobility of San Miguel since the beginning of this administration in October 2015, with the construction of parking lots at the entries of the city and improving pedestrian sidewalks in the Historic Center where those who want to use their cars will have to pay by using parking meters. The local authorities have also mentioned the public works, like the repaving of Paseo de los Conspiradores, the construction of a four-lane road from the Pípila traffic circle to Malanquín, and the four lanes from Puente Bicentenario to the junction with Dolores, among other works.

On August 30, this year, the city council held a session approving the new traffic regulations. Atención requested an interview with the Director of Traffic, Samuel Mercadillo, to learn what was new in the document. He said he does not know what was approved and what was not because he sent the document to the Consejo Municipal de Mejora Regulatoria (Regulatory Improvement Council), which later submitted it to the commission of Traffic and Transportation of the City Council for its approval. The regulation has not come into force yet. Although they have not been yet published by the State Official Paper and as a consequence cannot come into force, the new regulations are “for improving the mobility in town.”

Mercadillo commented that the State Mobility Law prioritizes pedestrians over cyclists, public transportation, particular cars, and heavy transportation. Then he recalled that the new regulation includes a chapter on being a responsible driver. Now, employees will be responsible for inviting each group in bars and other drinking establishments to select one person to be the responsible driver. This is to avoid not just deaths, but also traffic accidents. However, it will be the choice of the people involved to participate in the program or not.

Luis Enrique Vázquez, Director of Regulatory Improvement, told Atención that through some articles of the new Traffic Regulation, a completely new regulation will emerge to regulate parking lots. With the new regulation, the parking charges will be based on the location of the lots, their infrastructure, and safety measures for the car owners. The director noted that the new regulation will be published in the State Official Paper in the near future.

The Mobility Council and the 20 Ideas

On August 30, the Mobility Council was also approved, and it is comprised of citizens and representatives from the government. This council includes the representative of the Hotels Association, Laura Torres; the representative of the Restaurants Association, Paolo Bizzoto; the representative of Consejo Turístico, Francisco García; and Ivar Shake and Luz María Núñez Flores—who urged the Mobility Plan.

This council, according to Núñez, will supervise the fulfillment of the Mobility Plan and will also decide the destination of the financial resources collected from the plan, always for improving the city.

Several months ago, pedestrians and drivers complained because the city “collapsed” on mobility. Then a citizens’ consultation was held the last Sunday of April, and at least four thousand sanmiguelenses said yes to the following ideas that emerged from opinions collected on a radio program hosted by former mayor Luz María Núñez:

1)    Public policies need to be created for improving the mobility in San Miguel.

2)    The criteria of prioritization should be pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation, and private cars.

3)    The plans need to prioritize the wellbeing of sanmiguelenses over visitors.

4)    Parking lots should be constructed at the four accesses to the city.

5)    Alternatives for economical, safe, and permanent transportation should be generated.

6)    Public bicycle rental with preferential fares to residents should be initiated.

7)    Quality public transportation with low fares, internet, and AC should be generated.

8)    The local administration should control the fares of executive transportation and regular taxis and fine those who do not respect the rates.

9)    The prices of the private parking lots need to be regulated; those closer to the Historic Center should be more expensive.

10) Parking meters should not be installed if there are no parking lots in the four accesses to the city. The parking meters should be digital, modern, and with preferential rates to sanmiguelenses.

11) Public transportation needs to be regulated, generating companies with modern buses with updated routes and the implementation of anti-doping tests for drivers.

12) Transit regulations need to be updated and known by the citizens. Tourists should receive a copy with the most important articles.

13) There should be information about the pedestrian areas, and those who live in the Historic Center will need a permit issued by the administration to enter.

14) A schedule should exist for suppliers in the Historic Center, and it should be from 10pm–9am.

15) Fines should be higher for those who park in spaces designated for the handicapped and for suppliers working in the Historic Center off-schedule.

16) The hotels in the World Heritage Area must have valet parking to avoid the traffic.

17) New developments should provide private transportation in order to avoid the use of cars.

18) Traffic signs should be placed in the streets of the World Heritage Zone as well as maps with the routes of public transportation.

19) The touristic trolley must change to hop on-hop off, with established routes and schedules and with a frequency of 20 minutes. A single fare should apply for the entire day.

20) There should be nocturnal public transportation with competitive rates.

 

But those ideas, according to Núñez, are just the working base, and the project will be dynamic according to the city development. “That is the result of what we want,” she said.

She also commented that night public transportation by bus is already projected, and it would provide service to more than three thousand employees who do not have options for going home between 10 pm and 6am other than getting a cab.

Núñez assured that the new line ought to be “modern, with good quality, air conditioning, cleanliness, and safety although it will be more expensive.” She also mentioned that the council office will be at the new CAV and will hold sessions once a month. In their first meeting, they elected a Mobility Director, Miguel Alceda—who developed the mobility plan.

“Sanmiguelenses will not pay for the mobility, but the visitors [will]”—Miguel Alceda

Miguel Alcelda told Atención that his professional experience in mobility has been in this kind of project in 28 Mexican states. In addition, he has worked with the Institute of Mobility at the University of Texas. He has been working in San Miguel since 2009.

He integrated the plan based on five determinative points: pedestrianization, parking, public transportation, and traffic and infrastructure.

 

Alceda highlighted that his group is working now on the nocturnal transportation plan that soon will result in a new public transportation route to cover those areas that do not currently have service. He stressed that it will be modern and safe transportation, but with higher fares. Alceda made the commitment to divulge the information as soon as it is ready.

He said that people can now use the hop on-hop off trolleys as public transportation. They have an all-day cost of 120 pesos. These are the routes and frequencies:

 

The basis for parking meters

On August 24, 2016, a meeting took place that included members of civil organizations, Mayor Ricardo Villarreal, Traffic Director Samuel Mercadillo, and other citizens.

In his presentation, Samuel Mercadillo acknowledged that there is a mobility problem in San Miguel de Allende. He stated that approximately more than 70,000 vehicles transit through the main entrances of the city daily (registered at the glorietas or traffic circles). He noted that more than 20,000 cars move daily through some intersections in the Historic Center.

During this meeting, Director Mercadillo also said that more than 60,000 people use public transportation every day. On the other hand, the traffic problem in the Historic Center is a problem because there are just 1,800 parking spaces in public parking lots and 1,351 on the streets, according to Mayor Ricardo Villarreal. He said that it has been proven that only 375 vehicles belong to people living in El Centro.

 

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