07222019Mon
Last updateFri, 19 Jul 2019 11am

Walking on the wild side

Every single resident of the Chapala area should be delighted that the municipal and state governments are planning to sink a big bundle of pesos into improvements for our incredibly horrid streets and connecting highways after long years of neglect.

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The state has laid out plans to refurbish the Libramiento bypass, the northshore highway and its adjacent cycling path. City Hall is already at work on upgrades for streets and crosswalks.

Never mind that these projects will be going on throughout the summer rainy season, making them subject to delays and probable muddy mishaps. It’s just the way the financial cookie invariably crumbles, with funding coming through at the least convenient time of year. We need to grit our teeth and stay fixated on the final outcome that’s bound to simplify moving about in our day-to-day activities.

Remember back to the major rehab of our once badly pitted link to the Guadalajara highway. Stop-and-go work that seemed to go on endlessly was a prolonged nightmare for commuters. But now that it’s done, motorists enjoy fairly smooth sailing to the airport and points beyond in the metro area.

Getting back to projects still in the pipe, I wonder whether pedestrians will actually take advantage of those carried out for their benefit., because casual observations make it apparent that people getting around on foot have some terrible habits.

Jaywalking is rampant in these parts. And it’s not just locals who are seen darting across roadways willy-nilly. Immigrant inhabitants are equally guilty of meandering into traffic anywhere they please on the assumption that vehicles will stop on a dime to let them pass. Bolder ones I’ve spotted now and again stretch out their arms and hold up hands in both directions to halt oncoming cars, trucks and buses. The tactic usually works, but it’s a risky maneuver.

A couple of new crosswalks have just been completed in the heart of Chapala. While sipping coffee at the nearby café this week, a couple of local reporters watched as people walked across Avenida Madero’s main intersection. We calculated that 50 percent were just as inclined to saunter outside the pedestrian walkways as those who deliberately stayed within their confines.

Will the same phenomenon occur with the street corner improvements that are just getting under way on Ajijic’s interior streets?  For sure, faded crosswalks up on the highway are often ignored by people who choose to defy death and injury by sprinting from one side to the other on a whim.

Another point to consider is the proper use of the local ciclovia. Defective as the cycling path is at many points, it’s there specifically for the convenience of those who travel on bicycles, whether as a mode of transport for working folks or others engaged in sport and leisure activities. They were never intended for use by the joggers, dog-walkers and ordinary pedestrians who frequently occupy these spaces, oblivious to two-wheelers that may be approaching from behind, making for cases of accidents waiting to happen.

For safety’s sake, the time has come for everyone to become mindful of a more sensible and courteous culture of mobility.

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