The San JoséMunicipality Tuesday symbolically entered the next phase of ripping up Avenida Central’s crumbling sidewalks to replace them with attractive brick walkways.
At the ceremony, San José Mayor Johnny Araya drove a sledgehammer into a patch of sidewalk in front of the Central Market.
A 100-meter stretch of Avenida Central beginning at the market and heading east will have its cement replaced with bricks to become an extension of the pedestrian boulevard within the next month, said municipality spokeswoman Carman Azofeifa.
The original plan was to work all the way west to San Juan de Dios Hospital – near where the street becomes the traffic thoroughfare of Paseo Colón – by December, but storeowners along this stretch pleaded with the municipality to wait until the lucrative Christmas season was over to begin construction, she said.
The municipality agreed to wait until January to resume work with the goal of finishing by April.
Once the project is complete, drivers heading east into San José will need to turn onto Ave. 2 rather than continuing along Paseo Colón when they reach the pedestrian stretch, and a few bus stops will need to be relocated.
Although this ¢90 million ($174,418) project may inconvenience drivers, it will benefit the pedestrians who are the municipality’s main priority, Azofeifa said.
“There are 1 million people coming into San José every day, and 80% of them are using public transportation,” she said. “Our policy is always to prioritize pedestrians.”