Avenida Madero

Few of the planned repairs, monuments, building programs and other Bicentenario projects seemed to be finished in time for the Bicentennial celebrations. But they did manage to complete the Madero pedestrianisation – map no.37. Just about. The finishing touches were put to it just hours before the big day.

I’m all for a little pedestrianisation here and there, especially in historical centres of cities. I’d like to see the entire Zocalo pedestrianised and a return of the tram system. There are plans for the latter, at least. Whether there’s the money or not to see those plans through is another matter.

Some might suggest there were financial constraints placed on the paving of Madero. I’d be inclined to agree. Firstly, the style and colour of the paving is cheap and just doesn’t have a ‘colonial’ feel to go with the buildings on either side.

Secondly, the drain covers were showing signs of wear and tear after just a day. I say wear and tear. I mean, they’re broken through. We noticed one on the way out of the Zocalo on Wednesday evening after the party. It had a wooden board over it yesterday, along with several others.

Still, it’s nice to have at least one pedestrianised road from the Zocalo to Bellas Artes. There were plenty of street artists there before, but now there’s more than ever. The clown below for one. It’ll definitely be a haven for families, tourists, couples, friends and groups of all sizes and types looking for something fun to see and do.

Tell A Lie


15 thoughts on “Avenida Madero

  1. Zipper says:

    Great info. I would definitely support the idea of getting rid of the cars and making it pedestrian friendly. I don’t know any Spanish and I know very little about Mexico, but thanks to you, I am learning a lot. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Kim G says:

    Actually, the fake cobblestone is quite nice. They should have just stuck with that, and just closed the street. The beige concrete wasn’t all that nice, and that broken manhole cover just kind of ruins it. Kind of like the mis-matching repairs on Reforma.

    Seriously, Mexico! Failure to maintain is one of the self-reinforcing stereotypes.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where many things (especially streets) are in a wretched state of repair, but once fixed, they are generally fixed right.


    • I like the fake cobblestones too. There was moneysaving potential there…leave the perfectly good old stuff in place.

      I was back on Madero on Saturday. The drain cover we saw had been replaced with a wood board. I noticed it was not the only one….when board is stronger and longer lasting than your concrete, questions have to be asked!


      • I know the round things you’re referring to! I was taught as a kid to put the round pegs in the round holes, and the square pegs in the square holes. As I grew up, I realised that this was no special feat – even chimpanzees could do it.

        And yet. In Mexico…..



  3. Pingback: Zocalo Present, Past and Further Past | The Mexile

  4. Michael Wolf says:

    As much as I appreciate a good tram system (one of the many reasons I miss living in Melbourne), I think they’d be a disaster here for all sorts of reasons. Given how people drive and how tram drivers can’t do much in response, it’d be faster to walk. We’d get yet another ticketing system, to complement ones used by the metro, the Metrobús (another disaster), the tren suburbano, and the Xochimilco light rail. (Am I forgetting any? Do ecobici cards count?) And the cost would be huge, money that could be better spent on all sorts of noble endeavours, such as buying euros and giving out the bills to the poor to use as toilet paper.

    On the bright side, foreigners would see trams in the Centro Histórico, and that would make Ebrard look like a progressive mayor of a European city.

    Not much of a bright side.


    • I was thinking more a tram system replacing cars on certain routes than supplementing the existing traffic! But I do take your point.

      You really think the Metrobus is a disaster?? I’ve been under the impression it’s been a massive success. The buses are always full, and because the microbuses no longer ply those routes, the roads are much easier to drive on too.

      It would be nice to have a single ticketing system though, ala London Transport.


  5. Michael Wolf says:

    Back in the day, I lived in Roma Sur and worked in Del Valle. I would commute home on Insurgentes every day. Pre-Metrobús, the trip wasn’t exactly fast, but there were always available busses and there was always room on those busses. Once the Metrobús started running, overall travel times — which include waiting on the platform and watching who knows how many too-full busses go by — tripled, at least. Too few busses for too many people. In response, I started leaving work later. I also took even more taxis. They’ve since increased capacity, but even now there are more full busses than there were before.

    So — yes, a disaster. No other way to put it. It had two objectives, right? To decrease travel time for bus riders and to improve traffic for other vehicles. It failed at the former. It may have succeeded at the latter, for a limited and now elapsed amount of time — in which case, can you call it a success? Real attempts at improving traffic would involve systemic changes that are not forthcoming.

    I know that one story about a small section of a route is unlikely to convince anyone. Most of my discussions about the subject seem to have devolved into “Yes it did!” “No it didn’t, and I actually used the busses before and after, and you did not.” From that point, there isn’t really anywhere else to go.

    Fortunately, I now live near along the metro’s blue line, one stop up from Tasqueña. That’s a public works project done right.


    • Yes it is, no it isn’t…a lot of discussions end up that way. Till Godwin intervenes, anyway. The Insurgentes route opened up pretty shortly after I got here. I have no memory of the route from my previous stay in the city in 2003. So I can’t give a ‘before and after’ account.

      I don’t use it often either, as I’m also at the southern end of Linea 2. One stop more southerly than you. It’s nice…you always get a seat when you get on at a terminal!

      But everyone I’ve spoken to (except you, now!) who use the Metrobus, or who drive on Insurgentes, have told me it’s much better than before. It seems like a good service when I do use it.

      The crowding is an issue. But you describe the metro, Linea 2 anyway, as ‘done right’. The metro can get as crowded as crowded can be. I actually quit a job that required me to get on a train on the Brown Line (I forget the number!) at Chabacano in rush hour. Twas ridiculous.

      I am inclined to disagree with your verdict on the Metrobus (although I don’t dispute your experiences on it!) purely because I think the real problem lies elsewhere.

      Too many people taking too many journeys over too long a distance in too small a geographical area. I am frequently amazed at how many people think nothing of a three to four hour round commute each day. There are people who do it in London, or rather coming into London.

      But it’s a small percentage, and are often the wealthy who prefer to live outside the metropolis. Many of them may get time off at work in exchange for the travel. Otherwise, most Londoners work close to home, or move closer to work.

      But in DF, no one wants to move away from, or at least far from, the family centre. And spending 20 plus hours a week in traffic, it seems, is a worthwhile sacrifice.



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