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No Parking on the Costera Again

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 15 April, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 15 April) Once more Acapulco welcomes tourists for a big holiday period with changes in the parking rules along the Costera. The municipal public safety director and the head of the traffic police have announced that from Saturday, April 16 through Easter Sunday (April 24), parking will not be allowed on the Costera Alemán, Acapulco’s coastal road around the bay.
The purpose, according to the city officials, is to keep traffic moving when the number of vehicles on the narrow thoroughfare will be unusually high. The city has assigned 460 traffic officers to the Costera to enforce the rules. The yellow collective (shared) taxis will be diverted from the Costera to the old road. Anyone with an actual destination on the Costera will have to take a bus or a private taxi.

Supply trucks and vehicles that provide tourist transport are exhorted not to double park or otherwise clog the avenue. Violators, according to the officials, will be ticketed and towed. Areas of high vigilance will be the flag pole area in front of Parque Papagayo, the Zócalo, and Condesa. The temporary imposition of parking restrictions will be informed to tourists by means of leaflets handed out at the toll booth just before arriving in Acapulco on the road from Mexico City.

Business owners and operators of restaurants and bars are unhappy about the rules. The problem is that parking is so limited that tourists unable to park on the Costera will probably not stop at all. “If Acapulco wants to free up the Costera,” they say, “Acapulco will just have to provide off-street parking.”

Most locals will readily agree with the owners of the stores and restaurants. Unless something is done about congestion caused by the countless noisy, ramshackle city buses driven mainly by reckless, beardless youths, the parking rules will do little to increase traffic flow. Even more to the point, double-parking is prohibited all the time on the Costera, but at almost any hour of the day some scofflaw is plugging up one of the through lanes because, evidently, the traffic laws do not apply equally to everybody.

In principle, Acapulco does not give traffic tickets to tourists. The rules are not enforced against people with political connections, and that includes many people who own or work in the stores, hotels, restaurants and bars along the Costera. This is especially flagrant along the Condesa, where one often sees double-parked luxury SUV’s that the traffic police dare not ticket. Even regular citizens can violate the rules and then avoid a ticket by giving the policeman a small bribe of $100 pesos or so (more for tourists and foreigners).

So the net result is that parking of some sort will continue, even when and where it is prohibited. The only people really inconvenienced will be law-abiding visitors, who cannot find a place to ditch their vehicle. The best advice for visitors is to park at the hotel and set out on foot or in a taxi.

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