In this edition, we explore the options for getting around Playa: private transport, public transport or just good old body power. While increased tourism and investment are positive for the region, they bring their own problems and responsibilities.
As the city grows in size and popularity, so do the problems associated with circulation. The infrastructure to support this growth unfortunately can’t be developed at the same rate and we noticed it in particular during the last holiday season. Traffic jams, queues for parking and high tempers became the norm for a while for motorists. Increased traffic means increased fuel emissions and environmental problems for this natural wonderland that we want to protect and preserve. That’s why initiatives like Bicineta featured on page 17 are important to raise awareness and offer fun alternatives for getting around.
I thought that this would also be the ideal edition to highlight an issue raised a few weeks ago by Richard, a reader of the Playa Times. He wanted to draw my attention to an accessibility issue for people in Playa who have mobility problems. While there is an increasing number of disabled ramps on sidewalks in the city, he conveyed his frustration at the fact that they are often useless because of businesses blocking the sidewalks with tables and signage. This is particularly notable on Fifth and Tenth Avenue. On Tenth, pedestrians are forced to step onto the cycle path, which is dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians, and an additional obstacle to negotiate for those with less mobility. While less can be done about gaping holes and telegraph poles in the middle of sidewalks, this accessibility issue is completely avoidable – all that is required is greater consideration and common courtesy.
My main mode of transport in Playa is my bicycle and I frequently experience problems on the cycle path due to this lack of consideration. However it doesn’t impede my daily activities. I can’t begin to imagine what it most be like for those with reduced mobility and the differently abled who experience this every day.
Along with a developing city and infrastructure, we have a responsibility to develop our collective conscience and sensitivity to make Playa a more accessible and inclusive city for all.