Pescadero Citizens Lobby For Help

They have their heart set on getting a sleeping policemean installed across the road

The small Pueblo of El Pescadero held its first community meeting on August 14th to kick off the Slow Down Pescadero campaign. The locals are serious about this, which was evidenced by the large turnout of Mexicans, Americans and Canadians all in agreement it is time to make some noise. Citizens and merchants have united to battle the issue of drivers zooming through the town at excessively dangerous speeds. Pescadero is located just North of Cerritos beach and South of Todos Santos. The pueblo is bisected by Federal Highway 19 which is now a four lane speedway.

Pescadero is an interesting area. We’re calling it an area, even though it actually is a town, because it sprawls inland from the sea, flinging itself across the fourlane highway and culminating up the hill, where the original town was built. That is still the “downtown”, and it’s still wholly on the mountain side of the highway, but there is now plenty of business sprawl between the mostly Gringo ocean side of the highway and the mostly Mexican mountain side of the highway.

Today we’re talking about the dozens of businesses that have popped up along that highway. They are mostly Mexican restaurants with palapa roofs, and plastic chairs and tables flung out on the front yard abutting the highway. This mile long strip is anchored by a Pemex/Oxxo and the American owned Oasis bar and restaurant. Oasis is a step up from the plastic chairs in the front yard, as owner Cyndi Williams has spread her chairs in the neatly groomed back yard, among the fire pit and horseshoe game.

Say you’re barreling down the speedway known formally as Highway 19, you just blew past Cerritos Beach a few miles back, and you’re either on your way to Todos Santos or La Paz, when suddenly you’re flanked on either side by this new stretch of businesses. What do you do? Screech on your brakes to take a look? Naw, you’ve seen palapa restaurants and Oxxos before, you keep the pedal to the metal.

And this is a problem for the local merchants, who have come together for their first meeting to cook up a way to slow down traffic.

“Cars, delivery trucks and even trucks with double trailers race through town at speeds well over 80 miles per hour creating life threatening situations for pedestrians and passenger vehicles frequenting local businesses,” Says Cyndi William in her opening statement at the merchants’ meeting. “Even cars trying to enter or exit the highway from the many access roads are in peril” she adds, careful not to exclude anyone who may be inclined to join her group of protestors.

There was a pretty good turnout for the first meeting, about 15 Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians, including a local government rep. For the next meeting, on a date yet to be determined, several more government officials have promised to attend.

But, really, what is the issue here, and how can it be solved? For starters, it’s a federal highway and the feds are a thousand miles from here and not paying attention to our piddly little concerns. It’s going to be tough to get their attention.

In the real world, there would at least be some speed signs. We’ve all seen them; signs posted at the entrance to a town that’s straddling a road with cars barreling along at substantial speed. All of a sudden you’re asked to slow down to 55, then another sign politely suggests 45, and then at the center of the little berg the signs request 35. Those signs are presented in reverse as we depart the town, allowing us to resume our speed in increments. And we pay attention to them. We all know many of these towns finance their public works off people passing through who do not heed these signs. Who hasn’t seen a motorcycle cop hiding behind a billboard. But in Mexico? Not so much.

Yes, we fear the police here, not because they will ticket us for speeding, which will cause us to fill up the local coffers, but because they will use the signs as an excuse to fill up their own pockets.

Therefore, the merchants are thinking more along the lines of getting permission to deploy the old standard, the sleeping policeman, otherwise known as topes. Speed bumps. That’s the best they think they can hope for, and with enough tenacity, they think they can achieve it.

But why bother, we say. Many people who want traffic to slow down in front of their home or business just build their own tope at night. One doesn’t need to be a traffic engineer, after all, you just fling down some asphalt and deploy some purloined orange cones around it until it sets up. The orange cones will also serve to add a little legitimacy to the tope.

Another do-it-yourself project that’s popular around here is deploying a fake blue sign with white lettering. We’ve all seen them, they direct people to local businesses as well as points of interest. They are owned by the city, and cost $600 for the permit and $600 each year thereafter.

We know a few business owners who just painted their own signs and hammered them into the ground. Now that you know that’s going on, look carefully at each of them. You will see some where the blue is a little off, that seems to be the most difficult part of the sign to copy.

So, if you live or work in the area, check in with Cyndi Williams at the Oasis and see when the next meeting will be held. A firm date is being held up right now until she can get a commitment to attend from officials.