November 21, 2022
#MejoresCallesMX: Envisioning Better Streets Across Mexico
All around the world, there is a movement to re-imagine and re-design urban streets that better serve the needs of people, rather than emissions-heavy vehicles.
Complete streets create safer, more comfortable, and more accessible spaces that cater to the mobility needs of all people.
Promoting the design and implementation of ‘complete streets’ in our cities means creating safer, more comfortable, and more accessible spaces that cater to the mobility needs of all types of people — regardless of age, gender, or disability status — while giving priority to walking, cycling, and public transit. In May 2022, ITDP Mexico kicked off its #MejoresCallesMX (Better Streets Mexico) competition, developed in collaboration with partners at CEMEX and Autodesk, seeking street redesign proposals for cities across Mexico that would open up access to public space, improve urban mobility, and enhance quality-of-life for all residents. #MejoresCallesMX solicited proposals from teams composed of urban authorities, public officials, civil society organizations, and academia to develop concepts for complete street projects in their city or municipality.
After initial proposals were collected in June, the first stage of the competition involved workshopping ideas and a Q&A period with the submitting teams. After that, 6 top finalists were selected by an expert committee of multi-sector judges. These top finalists moved on to the second stage of the competition during which they had additional time to revise their submissions based on feedback from the committee and ITDP Mexico. They also received support to develop data-driven mobility simulations of their proposals using specialized software.
A total of 58 proposals were received from 37 municipalities in 19 states across Mexico. The 6 finalist proposals were selected from the cities of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Puebla, Zapopan, Monterrey, Mexicali and Mexico City. Across all of the submissions, the proposed redesigns seek to turn nearly 225 kilometers of existing roads into complete streets, including the creation of 215 kilometers of new cycling lanes and infrastructure. In early October, ITDP Mexico hosted an awards ceremony, attended by experts in mobility, architecture, and sustainable urban development to announce that the proposal for the redesign of Avenida Nicolás Copérnico in the city of Zapopan, Jalisco received first place. All the proposals submitted by the five other finalist teams were also recognized and awarded. Second place was shared by the proposals from Mexico City and Mexicali, while Monterrey, Tuxtla Gutierrez and Puebla shared third place.
The winning proposal, developed and submitted by Zapopan’s Directorate of Mobility and Transportation, aims to redesign 3.1 kilometers of existing streets that also includes: the creation of more comprehensive cycling infrastructure; improvements to the pedestrian streetscape with accessible sidewalks; platforms for accessible public transport; and more integrated urban park and green spaces. It is estimated that the designs would enhance the daily lives of more than 97,000 people who live within one kilometer of the Avenue, while increasing access to 1,873 essential services, 16 public transportation routes, and 157 schools in the area. It is also expected that the intervention will stimulate commerce for almost 4,000 businesses in the area. As the winner of the competition, the municipality of Zapopan will receive technical support from ITDP Mexico as well as its partners at CEMEX and Autodesk to help realize and implement the proposal, its designs, and related interventions in 2023. This technical support will include, among other aspects, topographic surveys, soil mechanics studies, and in-depth assistance for refining the street designs.
Ultimately, by hosting the #MejoresCallesMX competition, ITDP Mexico and its partners hope to stimulate and encourage more governments and institutions across the country to reimagine their cities to improve public space in ways that highlight sustainable, accessible urban mobility. More complete street designs that prioritize walking and cycling, rather than cars, have significant potential to reduce traffic accidents while improving transit access, air quality, and the overall quality-of-life of surrounding communities. ITDP Mexico will be disseminating the best practices and insights gained from the competition through various multimedia materials, including an upcoming book, with the hope of inspiring more cities to create streets that serve the needs of all people.
Learn more about #MejoresCallesMX at mejorescallesmx.itdp.org.