Editor’s Page – January 2024

Spaghetti Junction

I had just said goodbye to my maid, friend, confidant and Mexican daughter when I heard the sirens blaring on the libramiento. Police, ambulance, bomberos… I thought of my mija and hoped she was all right.

Moments later I got a message on my phone. I looked and saw live video of the accident at the infamous Walmart intersection. I go over the footage, and I see the bodies of two women under piles of rock. I try to interpret what exactly I am seeing. “Oh, that poor woman” I think as I look at her upside down among the rocks.  Little did I know then that she was a friend, one of  “my writers!”  No, that, I got to find out later.

Now, I know I have written before about this dangerous intersection. I know that the traffic police and the Chapala government are trying their best to unravel this spaghetti jumble knot where traffic consists not only of every type of vehicle on two or four, six, eight or 18 wheels, but unicycles, clowns, beggars, jugglers, pedestrians, baby carriages and luggage pullers coming from every direction at once.  I say silent prayers when I see people walking across the libramiento side of the intersection to the mall, which is by far the most dangerous.

Nothing there makes sense. Only going straight is safe. Where do we turn coming from Chapala going to Walmart?  Not marked.  You can figure out the right turn on your own onto the libramiento just watch for foot and pedal traffic fruit salesmen and the like. Coming down the libramiento I have seen several attempts at signage, none that were successful. One would think it would make sense to safely cross on the green into the Walmart access area, but you must turn inside of the access area and are not allowed to go straight, although at one time you could.  Back at the light you can turn left toward Chapala. You even have your own turn lane.  But now suddenly the light has green arrows going left and right AT the stop light, around all the barriers that are already built to prevent right-hand turns there. AND then there is the most confusing right hand turn lane with signals ever to be concocted, and now they are building another right-hand turn area beside that and I have no idea how that is supposed to function.

Finally, traffic approaching from Ajijic have their own right-hand turn dilemmas. When does the actual lane split into the right side lane going straight and the left turn lane going left, but there are many who drive straight from the left turn lane. But at least there is clear access to Walmart.

I’d like to avoid this intersection altogether, but it cannot be totally avoided.

But I digress.  Right now, there are two women who were injured, one severely who remains hospitalized and may require additional surgeries.  There are some people who are putting together funding campaigns to help these innocent pedestrians. They need money for hospitalization, medication, treatment, rehabilitation as well as money for lost wages and probably attorney fees. As of this writing there is a GoFundMe campaign being run out of the UK. There are posts on Facebook as well as a fundraiser yet to be announced.


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com


Victoria Schmidt
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