Sunday, June 16, 2024

Zócalo public square in Mexico City to be pedestrian-only

Mexico City plans to restrict the roads surrounding the Zócalo central square to pedestrians only, to better “allow the appreciation” of the iconic plaza.

In an announcement on Monday, Mexico City Mayor Martí Batres said that the four perimeter roads around the square and sections of three roads that give access to it — 20 de Noviembre, Pino Suárez and 16 de Septiembre — would all be closed to vehicles.

Zocalo lights
The Zocaló often plays host to mass public events and celebrations. (Gobierno de la CDMX)

He said the decision would permit unobstructed pedestrian access to, and enjoyment of, the plaza, encourage sustainable mobility around the city center, and “rescue, dignify and revitalize the use of public space.”

Jesús Esteva, head of the Capital Works and Services Ministry (Sobse), said that a bidding process for the conversion work would begin in February. The project has a budget of 50 million pesos (US $2.95 million).

Esteva said the works would include installing stone paving that could withstand public events. The Zocaló often hosts major parades and live music events.. He added that two lanes would still be usable by emergency vehicles and that the roads would also stay open to cyclists. 

In total, the pedestrian-only area will be 12,366 square meters, while these mixed-used areas will cover 6,352 square meters.

“What the Zócalo requires for its operation, as well as the cathedral, which has some events that require the arrival of vehicles, all of that is going to be considered,” Esteva explained. 

Mobility Minister Andrés Lajous added that the Mexico City government has also sought public opinion on the pedestrianization plan since Oct. 16 via a special website to gather proposals and comments.

The Zócalo, also known as the Plaza of the Constitution, is the ceremonial heart of Mexico City. Flanked by the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the ruins of the Templo Mayor of the Mexica (Aztec) capital of Tenochtitlán, it is used for the capital’s most important public events, from presidential addresses to demonstrations, to national festivities.

With reports from Reforma

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