Finally, after four years of waiting, the change of one-way roads in downtown Nicoya will be implemented progressively beginning on Monday, November 10th and continuing until the end of the month. In total, five roads will change direction to attempt to improve traffic flow.
The biggest change will be on 3rd Street, named Republica de Mexico, which runs through the center of the city and includes the stretch between 4th and 9th Avenues. The direction of traffic will change to flow from south to north, in other words coming from Samara toward La Anexion Hospital.
Currently, the route taken by an ambulance coming from Samara to reach La Anexion Hospital passes in by the entrance to the municipal bus terminal, going forward 100 meters to the north, then diverting another 100 east to the right and then continuing another 100 meters east along 4th Avenue. Afterward, it has to turn left, taking 5th Street another 300 meters north and turning left 100 meters west and finally going another 300 meters north on 3rd Street.
In total, the current route is about 800 meters long and there are at least two stop signs on the way, which increases how long it takes the unit to arrive at the medical center.
With the new change of directions, an ambulance will only have to continue all the way on 3rd Street, which will be a one-way road from south to north. In total, the route to the hospital will be 600 linear meters toward the north without stop signs.
Other road changes will affect the direction of traffic in the neighborhoods of El Carmen, La Cananga, Santa Lucia and the city center.
The engineering department of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) is in charge of this initiative. They made the final presentation of the written document and the final plans for the new route.
For its part, the Municipality of Nicoya provided an investment of around 45 million colones ($84,000), including the replacement and purchase of several traffic signs as well as marking all intersection corners with yellow paint to prevent vehicles from parking there.
Marco Jimenez, municipal mayor, expressed satisfaction with the realization of the project because he believes it will provide necessary organization to roadways that will allow for better traffic flow in the city. In addition, he explained that this is the first stage of the project and anticipated that the second stage of reorganization would take place in March of 2015, which will include more signage and probably installation of traffic lights.
“Traffic Lights Are Expensive and Cause Delays”
For his part, Victor Reyes, manager of the Technical Unit of Traffic Management (UTGV- Unidad Tecnica de Gestion Vial), and coordinator of the Local Council of Road Safety (COLOSEVI- Consejo Local de Seguridad Vialidad), referred to why traffic lights are not being installed in this first phase.
“When we do a road reorganization project in a small city like Nicoya, we always avoid putting in traffic lights because, besides being expensive, what they do is delay [traffic flow],” he indicated.
Reyes reported that the approximate cost of each light is 10 million colones ($18,600).
Regarding the change in road direction, Reyes said that it will be progressive and will take place throughout the entire month of November. “It’s not something that is done in a single day. First comes substitution [and installation of new signs]. We will mark where the signs will be. Then comes the modification of the roads… We hope to finish in late November,” he said.
In addition, Reyes reported that they have carried out a public awareness campaign and posted signage in places where there will be changes.
“We want to ask drivers to use a lot of caution, to drive carefully and slowly,” he said.