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New Construction Project Proposed for the El Pípila Traffic Circle

1 Diseño por Sara Hernández

2 Diseño por Sara Hernández

By Jesús Aguado

A representative of the Ciudadano Observatorio group has proposed a revamping of the El Pípila traffic circle that would create safe, dedicated pedestrian crossing under the roundabout’s four corners as well as other amenities like bicycle parking.

Meanwhile, it seems that Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal also recently received authorization from the state and federal government for a previously discussed executive project that would build an elevated bridge at the site over the Libramiento to alleviate traffic flow through this busy junction that connects municipal, state, and federal roads—the Salida a Celaya, the carretera a Celaya, and the Libramiento Manuel Zavala respectively.

Observatorio Ciudadano is a local citizens’ group.

Traffic and mobility expert Ivar Shacke, a member of the group, and architect Sara Hernandez have proposed a project to the local administration with a design created by Hernández. They say their proposal follows the principles of the State Mobility Law and puts pedestrians first. Both also support Villarreal’s bridge idea.

It’s no secret that the most dramatic car accidents in town take place at the Glorieta El Pípila. They are not that frequent, but when they do happen, they often paralyze the city.

Because this is a junction between local, state, and federal roads, doing anything about reconstructing this trouble spot would require the local administration getting authorization from the state and the federal government.

Villarreal has made it clear that if overhauling the traffic circle happens, the project needs other supplementary construction like the construction of a libramiento (freeway) to connect the road to Los Rodríguez-Querétaro with the exit to Dolores and another road to connect the road to Querétaro with the road to Celaya somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Such construction would route eighteen-wheelers out of San Miguel de Allende’s urban area and prevent the kind of paralyzing traffic jams caused when these sorts of vehicles crash or turn over in the middle of the traffic circle.

Large vehicles with failed brakes have been the primary cause of accidents in the area.

Project from the Observatorio Ciudadano

Schacke and Hernández’s document says that a solution must respect the traffic policy of the state and prioritize traffic movements and traffic safety as follows: pedestrians, bicyclists, public transport, and private vehicles. It also points out that pedestrians are frequently walking among moving cars at the El Pípila traffic circle in order to connect from one side to the other.

“A good solution is to establish a level below the present street level, where pedestrians can safely cross from any corner to any other. This pedestrian level shall at each corner connect to the street level by ramps, not stairs. In this way, even handicapped persons in wheelchairs can get from one corner to any other. The underground passage/plaza can have small shops, a café, and even a small police station, the latter to prevent violence and the sale of drugs. The passage naturally needs to be well lit. Also, bicycle parking could be established for people coming from the outer areas and wishing to go to the city center using the urban buses.”

Their project to regulate the traffic also suggests installing traffic lights—at the traffic circle and eventually all across the Libramiento Manuel Zavala.

The only traffic lights ever placed in the city—at a junction where the Bicentenario Bridge was later constructed—were fiercely criticized by Sanmiguelenses and eventually taken out. According to Schacke, Mayor Villarreal strongly supports the traffic light idea.


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