Closing off Streets for the Public and Other Ideas for the Zone

There was a meeting and debate on Thursday about improving the Zona Colonial area.

The Inter-American Development Bank is going to give an initial investment of RD$30 million to get the projects started. They want to improve the Colonial city by preserving the monuments and buildings and also make more pedestrian walkways in the historical section.

They said that traffic needed to be reduced especially on Calle las Damas, the oldest street in the New World. They want to make this street a pedestrian only street only allowing the people living there and the businesses on the street to have access by vehicle. They are also discussing about making Padre Billini between Calle las Damas and Arzobispo Meriño, Arz. Merino between Arzobispo Nouel and Luperon and Calle Isabel la Catolica between Padre Billini and Las Mercedes into pedestrian only streets as well. (A map of the Colonial Zone to see where these streets are located)

If this happens many of the public transportation routes including buses, public cars and trucks, would have to be changed making the open streets more congested. They would divert these routes through Duarte. In my opinion this would still cause traffic problems.

The businesses, mainly the Hotels, are concerned that it would mean fewer tourists in the area thus affecting their businesses. Also some businesses that would have to pay for the renovation of their buildings would consider leaving the area, as it would be a really big investment to fix these buildings as required.

Now my humble opinion
*They need to focus on repairing the sidewalks and streets.
*Remove the garbage from the streets.
*Fix up the old and decaying buildings.
*Have bathroom facilities available for public use.
*Put speed bumps (policia acostado – I think that’s what they call them here) at every intersection and in the middle of streets where cars go fast. This will slow down traffic making it safer for pedestrians. Maybe these bumps would deter through traffic from using the Colonial Zone streets, as it would take so much time to pass through the streets. Maybe have different artists paint the speed bumps to make them attractive and another point of interest in our colonial city.
*Have more police on the streets at all hours, not just the daylight hours. There is needed more security in the evenings when people are walking dark streets to go out to the local establishments.
*Have streetlights on always, even when the power goes out. Maybe make them solar lights so power outages do not affect them.
*Make crossing the Malecon less dangerous. Speed bumps, police, overhead walkways at strategic spots. Whatever it takes so people can cross the street intact and sanely.
*Have activities like the outdoor concerts and events posted in strategic locations so visitors and locals can know what is happening in the parks and places of the Zone.

Any other ideas please post. Maybe someone of importance will read this and consider our opinions and ideas. Or maybe I can present these ideas myself to the big boys and gals.