Parking battle rages in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY — Every day before dawn, dozens of men appear in the Mexican capital's hip Condesa neighborhood and block off parking spaces along entire streets using water jugs, cardboard boxes, buckets, crates and even blocks of concrete.
As visitors start arriving for the district's restaurants, organic food stores, boutiques and art galleries, the men collect 20 to 40 pesos ($1.50 to $3), remove the obstructions and let drivers park.
Here and in other well-to-do areas of traffic-choked Mexico City, authorities are trying to take back the streets by installing parking meters. They say the meters will make the area safer and more orderly, as well as encouraging less driving, which will be a boon for a polluted city with more than 4 million cars.
Residents of Condesa, a bohemian neighborhood of 70,000 residents who rub shoulders every day with 170,000 visitors, will decide in a referendum on Sunday whether they want the meters on their streets.
Many are vehemently opposed, hanging banners from balconies to attack meters. Others hope the plan will cut down on cars from elsewhere.
Parking has become so critical that some Condesa residents have seized their own pieces of the street by erecting removable metal bars that jut from curbs in front of their homes.
Often the only option is to pay the ad hoc attendants, known as “franeleros” for the rags — “franelas” — they use to signal cars in and out of parking spaces they have commandeered. Not paying could mean returning to a broken windshield wiper, a long key scratch along a door or, in extreme cases, a smashed window.
Another option is to leave car and keys with valet parking attendants, who also block spaces for their clients.
“There are times when you drive and drive around, and when you finally find a parking spot, along comes a man to charge you for it. It really makes me mad,” said resident Elizabeth Ramos, 39, who said she plans to vote “yes” on meters.
Authorities laud the success of the machines installed in another affluent neighborhood a year ago.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Comets hold life building blocks
- Turkey, Kurdish rebels gird for all-out conflict
- British police force under investigation amid child sex abuse claims against ex-PM
- U.S.-led strikes kill 459 civilians in past year in Iraq, Syria, report finds
- Human rights issues cloud Strategic Dialogue meeting between U.S., Egypt
- Gunbattle kills 21 at Afghan wedding party
- Vibrantly colored mural spread across 200 homes in central Mexico city
- French riot police push back migrants at Channel Tunnel
- Kurdish suicide attack in Turkey kills soldiers, hurts dozens
- Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Firebombing kills Palestinian toddler, wounds family; Jewish settlers blamed