Photo: This park is part of the planned Jane's Walk route.
You may not have heard of it, but Zapopan is the biggest municipality within the city of Guadalajara’s metropolitan area. (This is in Mexico, by the way!) Guadalajara is the second most populous metropolitan area in our county, with approximately 4.5 million inhabitants. In the last ten years, the number of vehicles in Guadalajara has doubled, even though only 25% of people report using a car as their main mode of transportation.
Where does this leave pedestrians? Not very well off, actually. In our neighborhood, Jardines Vallarta, people don’t walk the streets. As a consequence, neighbours don’t know each other, streets are lonely, and the neighbourhood is insecure. Even though we are located within walking distance of many conveniences, many of us favour using our cars. Sometimes this happens by inertia; sometimes, because crossing certain intersections poses a threat to our wellbeing. Even going to the park can be dangerous if you don´t know the tricks to navigating the intersection on foot.
People who walk through our neighborhood while using public transportation have to deal with broken sidewalks, invisible pedestrian crossings, a lack of accessibility for people using mobility devices, and cars parked where people are supposed to walk (yes, on the sidewalks!). And whenever they cross the streets, they have to remember that cars have the right of way all the time, and they don’t like to stop.
So, what can we do about this? Well, we’re not really sure. We know that urban problems are complex and have many sides that need to be looked at. But we thought that a walk around the neighbourhood would be a good place to start. Meet the neighbours; experience walking around the area (so maybe, next time, you won’t park your car on the sidewalk!); learn about the health and wellness activities that are being organized in our park and about the migrants that hang around the railroad tracks that cross this part of town.
Want to join us? Our walk will be this Saturday at 10:30 am.