Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Tourism Secretary Aurelio López Rocha has made what are considered controversial decisions about changing traffic patterns in Puerto Vallarta's historic city center.
At a news conference about efforts to improve the image of downtown Puerto Vallarta so that it stays competitive in world tourism markets, Lopez Rocha talked about the city center project in which the federal government plays a fundamental role. "These types of changes have been used successfully in other parts of the world to assist with traffic control and benefit tourism."
FONATUR, the institution responsible for planning and development of sustainable tourism projects with national impact, has been granted lines of action with regard to impact studies and contract assignment with the Federation. The agency will hire contractors to perform works through competitive bidding.
The first phase of work in Puerto Vallarta requires a 60 million peso investment from both federal and state governments. Regarding the works that FONATUR has recommended, López Rocha said that "the Mayor feels these are the President's priorities." These include projects in the historical city center, the Malecón, Basilio Badillo Street, Matamoros, Mexico and Paraguay Streets.
To those who are unhappy with the proposed changes, the Jalisco Secretary of Tourism said, "We realized it would be a more pleasant experience for tourists to visit the city center with fewer motorists driving aggressively. We have been working on several fronts to ensure that downtown Puerto Vallarta is not so congested, like Guadalajara, Los Angeles, Ontario, Vancouver. What people want in Puerto Vallarta is relaxed, and what we should do is gain ground and space."
"People enjoy walking, rollerblading, taxi, bicycling, and special buses. What they do not want are 30 minute traffic jams in the historic city center. We have to provide alternatives, and progress has been made, but we must continue studying and implementing what has been successful in other countries with similar problems," he added.