27 January 2007
The Puerto Vallarta municipal government started turning four of its public parks into parking garages in 2005. The work is pretty much done and new, concrete-intensive parks now sit atop underground parking garages at three locations. The projects have been controversial for some people, who argue that a rash of development in the central part of the city is jeopardizing the charm and ambiance that made Puerto Vallarta so popular. Here's what I wrote on the subject for the Miami Herald, Mexico edition.
BY DAVID AGREN/The Herald Mexico
Sábado 27 de enero de 2007
PUERTO VALLARTA - Over his three years as a vendor near this town´s Playa los Muertos, Pedro de Jesús Álvarez has noticed more and more traffic pass through the area and parking spaces become increasingly scarce.
To remedy the situation and accommodate a growing number of tourists arriving in private vehicles, the Puerto Vallarta municipal government unveiled a polemic solution several years ago: Convert four of its public parks - three of which were either in or adjacent to the Historic Center - into parking garages. New concrete-intensive parks would be built on top of three of the underground garages.
Álvarez´s old business location, Parque Lázaro Cárdenas, was dedicated as an underground parking garage by outgoing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Mayor Gustavo González Villaseñor in late December, capping a pro-development term in office, during which time the seaside destination has grown immensely in popularity with both domestic and international tourists and building has been rampant.
According to the local tourism board, the once sleepy fishing village on a spectacular bay now trails only Cancún in tourist preference and 3.5 million people visit Puerto Vallarta each year.
The ongoing modernization of the Historic Center - site of the famed Malecón - and nearby Zona Romántica, though, unsettles some longtime residents and environmental groups, who accuse the municipal government of charging ahead without drawing up a proper development plan and recklessly approving projects that could, if not carried out with caution, turn Puerto Vallarta into another Acapulco.
Read the whole article at: http://www.mexiconews.com.mx/23166.html