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Sayulita has a new Traffic Warden Program, and Marcos Scott, President of the Puebleo Magico committee in Sayulita, tells El Sayulero all about this new traffic warden program.
Why is there a need for traffic wardens in Sayulita?
If you have visited Sayulita recently, you are painfully aware of the congestion and chaos in our streets due to non-enforcement of traffic and parking regulations and the invasion of public spaces by cars and vendors.
How did Sayulita’s Traffic Warden Program come about?
The Pueblo Magico Committee, made up of representatives from the major Civic Associations in Sayulita, (Pro Sayulita, Sayulita Merchants, JXMP- Juntos Por Mi Pueblo, Environmental Oversight Committee of PROFEPA) and others have been working for years to form partnerships with various Federal, State and Municipal agencies to meet the growing needs of our pueblo. In this case, our committee with the help of Yosef Verduzco, Municipal Director of Tourism, and Misael Lopez, Municipal Director of Transito, were able to obtain authorization from Jose Gomez, our Municipal President, to train and form a team of Auxiliary Traffic Wardens to assist the Transit Police with the necessary manpower to deal with the problem.
Who is overseeing this program?
Pueblo Magico Committee members, Oswaldo Vallejo (Pro Sayulita), Daniel Camacho (JXMP), Jelipe Hernandez (Environmental Oversight Committee), and Manuel Navarrete (Sayulita Merchants) in partnership with the Municipal Departments of Tourism (Yosef Verduzco), Transito (Misael Lopez), Reglamentos (Adan Ortiz), and Protección Civil (Dr. Marcos Antonio Villegas) are coordinating to manage the program.
Many people think this program is exclusive to the building of the new Sayulita Boulevard, but this will be an ongoing program. Will you share more about this?
Our traffic problems existed long before the construction of the new entrance to town and they will remain long after the job is finished. This program is designed to be ongoing for as long as the need continues to exist.
How many traffic wardens are there and where are they stationed in town?
At this point we have 7 team members stationed at the most problematic choke points in town; Revolucion at the bridge, Revolucion at the ficus tree, Revolucion at Niños Heroes, Navarrete at the river, Navarrete at the Iguana Tree, and Pelicanos. We hope to expand to 10 or 12 members, as they will also be working with the Regulations Department to help relocate vendors and prevent other invasions of public space.
What exactly do the traffic wardens do? What can they do to enforce traffic control?
The main job right now is to avoid blockages due to illegal parking on two way streets like Pelicanos, Manuel Navarrete, and Revolucion past Niños Heroes. This means getting up early to stop cars from parking on the no parking side of the street. Also, it is important to maintain Pelicanos as a one-way street from the Punta Mita Road to the bridge. Our Traffic Wardens cannot write tickets, tow cars, or remove license plates, but they will call a Transit Official if their advice is not heeded.
What sort of training did the traffic wardens receive?
All team members have received specialized training from the Municipal Transit Department.
What is the intended impact of the program?
I believe that this program has the potential to be one of the most important initiatives that we will undertake as a community. For better or for worse, Sayulita has been discovered and the paradise we all came here for is being threatened. The unprecedented growth of our town has created a situation where every available square inch of public space is being invaded by cars and vendors. This is the perfect recipe for lower property values, fewer and lower rents, and less prosperity for our businesses.
Deploying our own traffic wardens is the first step in taking back our town. In addition to preventing traffic blockages and congestion, our team has also been authorized to work with the Regulations Department to help relocate vendors so that pedestrians can walk safely on the sidewalks. Additionally they will assist First Responders to assure safe access and egress of emergency equipment and personnel.
By having our guys on the street we can prevent congestion by directing traffic to parking lots before they can cause congestion in town. Once we solve the parking problem we can start widening sidewalks and eventually create a pedestrian area downtown. We know how to do this! All we need is support from the community to get it done.
How are the traffic wardens paid?
That is the essential question. At this point Pro Sayulita and about 5 or 6 local residents and business people have been financing the pilot program. This is clearly unsustainable. In order to continue with this program, local businesses, including vacation rentals and residents will have to cover these costs. We believe that any contributions will be repaid many times over by assuring a higher quality experience for our residents and visitors by making it easy to navigate our streets and find a place to park. We suggest a contribution of two high season rental days for vacation rentals and a proportionate amount for local businesses depending on size.
How much money is needed to maintain this program?
At this point we need about $5,000 USD monthly to cover personnel, as well as a one time expenditure of about $8,000 USD to cover signage, paint, uniforms, traffic cones, etc. This amount is likely to go up as our team takes on more responsibilities.
How can people donate to the traffic warden program?
The best way is to visit the Pro Sayulita website by clicking here, donate and become a member. If you have multiple houses or businesses or your daily rental price exceeds $500 USD, please donate for each entity so that your total contribution reflects about 2 days’ rental receipts. Gracias!