Traffic Police

With the recent completion of Metrobús Linea 2 and the start of some serious roadwork, or las obras, on two of the main thoroughfares near my apartment, Avenidas Patriotísmo and Revolucíon, traffic in Escandón has been a mess recently.  In response, the city has sent an army of traffic police to help direct the flow of cars at busier intersections.  Part of the problem is that many drivers are having trouble adjusting to the new Metrobús line, which has two exclusive lanes on Avenida Benjamín Franklin, one of which runs counter to the flow of traffic.  On Thursday, on one stretch near my house, I saw eight traffic officers in one block.

It seems that traffic duty is commonly delegated to new officers; many of those that I saw were relatively young, perhaps 18, perhaps less.  It’s hard for me to tell these things exactly, though the over-sized and very clean uniforms tended to give them away.  Many of these rookie police seem to still be learning how to direct traffic.  

On the day in question, I was approaching the corner of Benjamín Franklin and Calle Minería on my way to the metro.  This intersection is not particularly complicated, as both streets are one-way, each has only two lanes, and there is already a traffic light; however, the new Metrobús line does run parallel to one street.  At this intersection, three officers were managing traffic, one for the cars on Minería, another those on Banjamín Franklin, and the last pedestrians.  It wasn’t clear to me why the officers were there, as the light was functioning; especially since the intersection would need, at most, only a single officer.  Needless to say, having three officers, instead of one, seemed to be more a burden than a benefit, as they were not communicating well.  As I reached the corner, each chose to direct cars and pedestrians to move forward at the same time, which resulted in total gridlock.  Fortunately, traffic was slow enough that the cars were able to stop in time and there were no accidents.

I can only surmise that this was chosen as a great location for some-on-the-job training.  (Or, perhaps, more reasonably, a politician demanded a greater police presence, but didn’t want to pay for it!) 


México, D.F.


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