How Much Has Cabo Grown?

 How Much Has Cabo Grown?

BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

There was a time in history when San Francisco was a small town of 1,000 people. The Gold Rush of 1849 began the transformation of the city into the 870,000 residents it is today. In many respects, Cabo San Lucas mirrors the growth that San Francisco experienced during the Gold Rush, except here it’s been a sun lover and lifestyle Gold Rush.

In 1990, there were only 16,060 inhabitants in Cabo San Lucas. Today it boasts a population of 202,000.

This explosive growth isn’t just about more cars on the road or more resort hotels along the Sea of Cortez coastline. It’s a sign of Cabo’s increasing popularity not just as a holiday destination but as a thriving community to live in and enjoy. Some might even blame the recent gentrification wave that has forced Mexican residents out of a few neighborhoods on owners who have raised the rent to attract ex-pats eager to live and rent near the downtown area and other appealing places to reside.

The process of our once low-rent urban areas being changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses, and thereby typically displacing current inhabitants in the process, has hit home in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. A small home downtown that used to rent for 3,000 pesos is now available for at least 15,000 or more.

What can people who have lived here for years do to survive? Possibly, they can move to nearby cities like Todos Santos and Cerritos, where the rent is just slightly cheaper as these towns are getting gentrified and out of reach for old Cabo residents already.

But for now, the constant complaints about the rise in traffic and cost of living are what residents are the talk of the day, every day.

A recent Population and Housing Census for the Los Cabos region counted nearly 60,500 cars. As Los Cabos government officials seek solutions to the traffic issue, government officials’ plans to initiate methods to reduce traffic have led to creating detour dirt roads at the entrance to Cabo, crossing the El Tezal neighborhood behind Costco.

A year ago, The Los Cabos City Council submitted a plan to the Mexican Federal Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport(SICT) outlining several transportation projects that will not only allow Cabo San Lucas to reduce the traffic headaches but also plan for extra roadway capacity expansion. Mayor Oscar Leggs has said that SICT and the local government will work together to administer the funding to ensure the congestion relief project gets underway soon.

The two main executive projects submitted for funding by the SICT include an underpass by the Fonatur roundabout in San Jose del Cabo and an important roadway connection from the toll road to Cerro Colorado. A major upgrade would be the creation of brand-new “retornos” (highway U-turns) on the highway.

According to the mayor, the upgrades to the roadway and additional traffic studies will seek to eliminate the headaches regularly occurring on the roadway, especially when an accident occurs. While no timeline has been provided for the start of the projects, with the constant growth Los Cabos is experiencing, the projects will likely begin soon. As in mañana, if you understand Mex speak.