On March 17, 2007 the new Plaza and Parking Lot Lazaro Cardenas was inaugurated. The period of “desincorporation” of the 4 traditional parks took 2 years and 7 days. It began with the destruction of Parque Hidalgo on March 10, 2005. This process of “desincorporation” in Puerto Vallarta, however, has not ended.
The objectives of the parking lots in the Historic Center have not be realized. Today, any resident or visitor to Puerto Vallarta can observe:
- The traffic is worse than ever.
- The problem of parking remains.
- The income realized by the community is very little.
- With the loss of green areas, the temperatures are higher and rising.
- Contact with nature is less.
- The businessmen have not benefited like they thought they would from the parking lots.
- The traditional character of Puerto Vallarta is being lost.
The comments by Mr. Victor Zayas Riquelme, President of Geminis Internacional Contructora, S.A. de C.V., at the inauguration of Plaza Lazaro Cardenas on March 17th merit comment. Mr. Zayas mentioned that there were those who did not believe that the parking structure of Plaza Lazaro Cardenas would be able to be built and that the project respected the natural environment, in fact, it improved upon it. This gives the impression that the ecologists, who initially opposed the project, now consider the Plaza an attractive improvement.
Quite the contrary. The ecologists were never in doubt that the construction could be completed. In fact, with a few chainsaws and some heavy equipment, the construction company destroyed the traditional Parque Lazaro Cardenas within a few hours. Moreover, the same occurred with all of the 4 traditional parks. Almost always at night. Ecologists know very well that the destruction of 50 year old trees and vegetation can be frighteningly quick and easy.
Man can eliminate greenery in an instant. For ecologists, this is exactly the point: The construction of Plaza and Parking Lot Lazaro Cardenas was a foregone conclusion. The construction of the parking lots in Hidalgo, Benito Juarez and Pitillal was proof enough that the authorities had the unwavering intention of completing the construction of Plaza Lazaro Cardenas.
Also, in similar fashion, the construction of Plaza Lazaro Cardenas incorporated the former Olas Altas Street, a procedure also followed by the previous parking structures taking public streets into their own projects. A procedure admitted to be illegal, but repeated in each of the projects.
Further, it cannot be considered that the natural environment has been respected when 4 (now 3) of the parotas were left standing in the construction of Plaza Lazaro Cardenas. The mistreatment and lack of consideration for the natural growth pattern of the parotas have condemned these trees to a restricted and impaired remaining life, to which the people of Vallarta shall be witnesses in the months and/or years that these parotas will suffer within the confines of their concrete planters and subject to the reflected heat from the cement surface that now surrounds them.
Ecologists were not in agreement with the construction of parking lots in the public parks from the beginning and we are not in agreement now. The cooling effect, tradition and character of Puerto Vallarta have been diminished by their loss.
The construction of parking lots in the city center will now guarantee that the Historic Center will always have a traffic problem.
Looking ahead, the Molino de Agua, Penninsula, Grand Venetian and Avalon projects will continue with the destruction of the traditional Vallarta. The protection of the mountains will follow. The loss of the traditional parks was the beginning. The loss of traditional Puerto Vallarta continues. Ecologists continue with proposals for the Historic Center of Puerto Vallarta which will provide for less traffic, a better public transport system and an increase in green areas.
These proposals have not changed over the years.
Grupo Ecológico de Puerto Vallarta, A.C.