Big Plans For La Paz Malecon

It will be pretty if we can find the money
BY: JAMES BELL

The newly proposed budget for the future expansion of the malecón, (oceanfront sidewalk), a huge project for La Paz, has already been increased from roughly 25 million USD to between 30 and 35 million dollars, although, according to officials, the funding has not yet been secured. It is hoped that construction will begin sometime next year.

Plans for the major beautification and infrastructure project, which include widening the pedestrian and commercial areas, installing shade and public restrooms, redesigning parking and improving bike paths, are still underway, and a survey on local residents´ views of the development has been recently published.

 More than 70 % of the 1000 persons surveyed said they were in favor of the improvements on the pedestrian strip along the bay. When locals were asked which parts of the plan are most important, most of the respondents, surprisingly, said that shade is needed the most; even more than public restrooms. Even street lighting is seen as more important than the installation of public restrooms, which do not exist on the malecón, and are generally rare in Mexico.

One would think the public would welcome them, provided they are well maintained. Fat chance of that, which may be why respondents were not enthusiastic about the prospect of getting them. Maybe things will be different this time. Naw.

A little lower on the list of important features are drinking fountains, also fairly rare, and benches. The outdated, Spanish- style iron benches have been around a long time and are very uncomfortable. Let´s hope these will be replaced as well. About 30% of the respondents said they visit the malecón at least once a week, which goes to show how popular the attractive malecón is. Foreigners love it, too. It’s what sets La Paz apart from any other city on the Baja.

The work may take at least three years to complete and should include the very important installation of underground drain pipes, practically non-existent in La Paz. These “desahogos pluviales” could make a significant and noticeable improvement to the area along the bay that, typically, is flooded by even the smallest rain storm, and left with large puddles of grey, smelly water, which creates a very unhealthy environment.

The final plans will soon be sent to congressional representatives who will begin the bureaucratic process of applying for funds to make this ambitious project a reality. Many La Paz residents are excited about the future development of the malecón, and tourism will most likely benefit from the improvement. According to one study, La Paz has the third most beautiful malecón in the country, after Mazatlan, (also the longest), and Puerto Vallarta. If the new malecón is successfully completed, it could become the nation´s most beautiful of all. Who made that study?! No doubt some guys from PV or Mazatlan, because already we are the fairest in the land.