Downtown Improvement Projects Running Amuck

BY: By one

san jose.jpgThe downtown Cabo San Lucas business district is undergoing a makeover that was started one year ago this month and was supposed to be finished four months later, in April of last year. Of course it’s still not completed, nine months after the due date.

The streets and sidewalks do look prettier, but there are still electric and telephone poles to remove from several blocks, and there are no trash cans set out, as they were not included in the budget. The last phase, which is Guerrero street, is still all torn up. 

One of the problems preventing the switch to full underground utilities, said engineer Lagunes, who is responsible for overseeing the project, is that an electric transformer arrived broken and its replacement had to be ordered. That’s his story and he’s sticking with it. 

All hands are swearing up and down that for sure for sure all will be finished by mid February. Positively, absolutely, take that to the bank, the entire downtown will be done, done, next week.

The long suffering members of the merchants’ association dubbed Amigos de Cabo San Lucas, agreed at a scantily attended meeting to ban parking throughout the entire downtown starting late last month.

 This was actually enforced by the traffic police, but the no parking ban has already been challenged by many business owners who want their customers to be permitted to park near their businesses. But at the same time they don’t want employees and marina workers to park on their curbs all day. They feel there is already enough parking space gobbled up by taxi drivers who pay the city for rights to park, rights which can stretch to an entire city block.

There is a pending request for some sleeping policemen at certain corners, also. (Otherwise known as speed bumps.) Hey, we’re OK with sleeping policemen, because sleeping policemen are not stealing policemen. More cop naps = less crime. 

The next step in prettying up the San Lucas downtown, which would like to become known as the historic downtown, is to come to an agreement on facades; their colors, their awnings, signage, and anything else that can be used to draw attention away from the pretty ordinary job we got. The Cabo merchants were expecting the real nice cobblestones the San Jose downtown district got a few years ago, and were dismayed to see ordinary concrete rolled out instead. For this ordinary concrete, they lost a lot of business for an entire year.

The merchants’ association has hired urban planners form the local branch of the Tijuana University to came up with a nice finishing presentation for us. All that’s needed now is that every business in the district pony up the money for a cohesive look, which could be tough, just coming off a year of street closures and then damages suffered in hurricane Odile.

Meanwhile, the downtown San Jose street improvement project is already imploding, and is not even two years old. An unknown number of water pipes have broken under the newly cobblestoned streets, causing them to cave in. To date, Oomsapas, the city’s water department, has counted no less than 57 separate water leaks on Morelos, Zaragoza, Hidalgo and Guerrero streets.

Remodeling the street surfaces and burying the utilities underground was funded and supervised by the state government which hired two corporations, Contructora Turistica and Villagomez Jurado, however, Oomsapas was also involved.

Ramon Rubio, head of maintenance for Oomsapas in San Jose, is currently inspecting the water supply and sewage network to determine where the problems originate. So far, the best he can suggest is the city dial down the water pressure so the busted pipes won’t leak so much water so fast that the dirt can’t absorb it and the water puddles, caving in the streets.

The same thing has happened all over town, for many years. The most obvious case is Leona Vicario St. in downtown Cabo. About 12 years ago the city buried the sewer and fresh water underground and laid pavement over the mile long stretch. The pipes started leaking within the year.

Refusing to admit their badly laid pipes burst, causing stinky water to roll down the street sometimes for a day or more,  the city claimed the pavement was past its expiration date and needed to be replaced by concrete. That took about a year of disruption, a year in which anyone could see the pipes were being worked over again. But within six months of completion, the pipes are leaking again and sewage is once again rushing down the street and into the mall.

It’s all about corruption and lack of oversight. Nobody is inspecting the job the contractors are doing. The city was warned by some knowledgable sidewalk superintendents, one a former Bechtel public works engineer, but city officials brushed him off.

Meanwhile, we lose precious water to underground leaks and our cars and ankles fall into Middle Earth.