In many if not most parts of Mexico the pedestrian crosswalk is a peculiar addition to the urban landscape.
Unless bordered on two sides by topes, or speed bumps, its use is risky should there be any traffic about, for the reality is that few drivers will take note that (a) it is there, and (b) there are people on it.
But pedestrians in some cities — Puebla among them — can at least take heart knowing that point (a) can no longer be an issue at many of its intersections.
In Puebla, the College of Architects (Capac) has been busy painting crosswalks as a way to mark its 50th anniversary.
A project called Cebratón, derived from the word cebra, meaning zebra, and the term “zebra crossing,” has painted a couple of dozen, though not in typical zebra style with its alternating white and dark stripes.
The designs are all different in form and color and cannot help but capture the attention of drivers.
Whether they will stop and allow pedestrians to cross is another matter.
But pedestrians can also take heart knowing there is even a national, civil organization lobbying on their behalf. La Liga Peatonal, or the Pedestrian League, is a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of pedestrians.
It is time, says the league, to give up the outlook that living with traffic deaths is something to which citizens must be accustomed.
There is good reason for that perspective, one that leaves pedestrians feeling vulnerable on the byways of Mexico. Official statistics, given in an international study on pedestrian safety, say pedestrian fatalities in Mexico account for 29% of all traffic-related deaths. The study, a project of the World Health Organization and other groups, offers the less than reassuring qualification that other studies put the figure closer to 48%.
Mexico News Daily