Local fury over hit-and-run roundabout closure

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© Wikimedia
The roundabout in question.

SAN PEDRO DE ALCANTARA Council is under pressure after a series of measures aimed to reduce the likelihood of further traffic accidents on the town’s central boulevard were criticised by residents and opposition politicians.

Detractors are up in arms regarding the decision to close the central roundabout on the thoroughfare after a 40-year old Bolivian woman lost her life last week, following a fatal hit-and-run incident involving a Bentley driven by British national Wesley Capper.

Furious locals have already started collecting signatures via social networks and a petition on the website change.org, with the roundabout shutdown attracting the most vehement objections.

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The petition asks why the council chose to put the ‘only roundabout where there has been no accidents,’ and which ‘distributes traffic to the town centre,’ out of service, with the decision also meaning that far more traffic is forced down the stretch which has now seen two lethal traffic incident within a year, both of which involved women being struck on zebra crossings, while a third person was also injured in July 2015.

Deputy Mayor Jose Piña defended the actions, affirming that they correspond to technical reports prepared by the Mobility Commission, within the general plan for improved road security in the municipality which was initiated in 2015, and is now being hastily implemented following the tragic events.

“The current design of the boulevard is based on a concept in which priority is given to the vehicle, followed by car parks, and finally the pedestrian, so we are working to reverse the situation,” he said.

The official spoke following a series of probing questions by Popular Party (PP) Councillor Javier Garcia, who was particularly interested to know whether the decision to close the roundabout had been made with the consensus of residents, and if it was supported by technical reports.

Piña responded with withering comments regarding the antecedent PP administration, declaring that he is “correcting the PP’s faults and errors in the design of the boulevard,” and that the current measures “add only a minute-and-a-half to journey times and reinforce road safety.”

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