It’s been a little over a month now since a traffic accident, at the glorieta in front of the country club entrance, took the life of Paola Villavicencio Soto. Paola was the mother of a 6-year-old daughter who waited tables over at Pancho Villas restaurant. A few weeks after Paola was struck by a female teenage driver with a high pedigree last name that kept her out of jail, there was a fund-raiser at Pancho Villas. They raised thousands of pesos for her family, it might even have been thousands of dollars, I will check on that. There were some cops posted at the intersection for a week or so after the accident slowing traffic down but the cops are now long gone. And as I wish to point out in this post; traffic at that intersection is now pretty much back to usual. People are hauling ass through there just like they were before, I mean it is such an easy intersection to hit while the pedal is to the metal.
As you drive back in to San Carlos over and then down the hill from the Bahia you make the stop, or not, at the OXXO/Santa Fe/Marina San Carlos glorieta from hell. Most drivers just feign a stop there and some drivers will just blow right through, no pretending. Once you have safely navigated that circular nightmare then you get that perfect straight away section. You all know the one I am talking about. The straight away section that, if you were really late to a meeting, you could really make up time on. As if shaving one minute off of your drive to Guaymas or any where in San Carlos could really matter in a country were pretty much everyone driving a car is just hurrying up to wait and get in line somewhere else. It is real easy indeed to hit speeds of up to 50 miles per hour or more by the time you get to that red concrete glorieta circular that took the life of young Paola. And you know what? You don’t even have to look to know if people are ragging through there; you can actually hear with your own ears all the speed racers who pass. Speeding cars make a very distinct sound when the road goes from asphalt to stamped red dyed concrete. How appropriate the color they chose.
It is not just the poorly designed road, failure to look both ways before crossing a street, the lack of attention of a teenage driver; driving way to fast, that contributed to the death of Paola. I would content that the most dramatic contribution to her death was the way the police force of this town simply refuse to enforce the speeding limit here. That is by design. Everyone needs to understand that right from the start. Cops don’t enforce speeding much during the day. They do enforce at night. Under the cover of darkness it is just that much easier to bust people. Especially people who are coming out of the bars. If they, our local police, can extort money out of people at night for drinking and driving why can’t they just nail people for speeding all day long? I saw motorcycle cops in San Carlos with radar guns actually doing that during Semana Santa. That could be a regular occurrence here.
I never thought me, a kid who grew up behind a race track in the asphalt jungle suburb of Melrose Park in Chicago would ever welcome a speed trap. But I would welcome one here in San Carlos. The harsh reality though is this. The speed traps only work if the cops are present all the time. I don’t think we can get that kind of commitment to enforcement here in municipality of Guaymas. I chose the words municipality of Guaymas rather than saying San Carlos to remind everyone that San Carlos belongs to Guaymas. Guaymas politicians decide our fate. The permanent solution then to the speeding issue is what they affectionately call in Australia, the sleeping policemen. Also known as Tope in Spanish and Speed-bump in English. I grew up in my little suburb with traffic raging all around me. I walked and road my bike, up hill both ways in the snow, to Jane Addams Elementary school for 8 long years. Rarely did I get a lift in the car. There were no sleeping policemen on my route but there were plenty of stop signs and traffic lights. The truth of the matter now is that traffic in this town scares me more than anything I ever negotiated in Chicago. It could be that I am older now, or perhaps my kids certainly have something to do with it. I truly worry for the safety of my kids and all the others riding, jogging and walking around town. To many people just drive to fast here.
I pose a simple question in the poll above, Is it Tope Time in San Carlos? Please ring in on that and answer the poll!
Comments are welcome below.