Puerto Vallarta Mayoral Candidates Talk About Reopening Malecón to Traffic

Popular candidate for Puerto Vallarta Mayor, Juan José Cuevas García (PAN), joined a growing number of people in a promises to reopen the malecón to light vehicle traffic again if he is elected as the next mayor of the city.

Cuevas also discussed the possibility of opening the malecón to traffic only during certain hours and days when there is less pedestrian traffic using the area.

The issue of opening the malecón to traffic is echoed by many of the candidates for mayor as growing demand by the voters and business owners have been heard.

In November 2011 a symbolic ceremony inaugurating the new city malecón was held with big promises to the community, tourists, and business owners, but many say those promises have fallen flat and the new malecón is having a negative impact on businesses downtown.

Over the last couple of years many businesses in centro have closed pointing to the new malecón and redirection of traffic as the reason for their business losing more than half of their income since the boardwalk was completed. Some downtown businesses have gone as far as displaying signs in their storefront windows informing the public about the economic downturn they have experienced since the malecón reconstruction and calling on the boardwalk to be reopened to traffic to ease congestion impacting their once thriving businesses.

The businesses most impacted are on the streets that were forced to take on the extra traffic as a result of a major downtown street being closed. Those streets were once easily walked for browsing and shopping however the new traffic increase has cut down the pedestrian traffic that many stores in the area for a decade or longer once depended on for business.

Businesses on the malecon are closing under unrelated circumstances where the landlords believe their property value has increased with the new malecon and they have priced out their tenants on rent and forced them out of business.

The city mayor has stated the cost to reopen the malecón to traffic would cost too much money and require assistance by the state to cover the cost.

The issue of reopening the malecón to cars has been a hot political issue that has pinned foreigners against the Mexican voter and many business owners in downtown Puerto Vallarta.

Many foreign residents have voiced their support for keeping the boardwalk closed to traffic, however many of the Mexican nationals and registered voters disapprove, leaving politicians in a no win situation.

Vallarta Daily posed the question “Walk or Drive on the Malecón?” to its readers back in August and overwhelmingly foreign readers voiced their opinion of keeping the boardwalk closed to automobiles, and a handful of Mexican nationals voiced their disapproval of closure.

Whoever is elected mayor in the June 7 elections will face growing pressure from both sides of the issue and will ultimately shape the future of downtown and businesses for many years to come.

57 Responses
  1. Estoy de acuerdo es realmente triste ver muerto el malecón se murió del tequila restaurante que ya no existe señor froggs en la esquina y todo lo demás los únicos que tienen gente es el macdonalds que dejen a los vendedores ambulantes vender elotes globos y chingaderanimedia abran el malecón se muere y pongan mejor luzzzzz

  2. I say temporally open the Malicon to traffic and finally put this dog to rest , I believe as many do that this will be a mistake , but let’s try it and then build a plan that will focus on really helping downtown to grow , shopping will never go back the way it was , downtown is a tourist destination and a wonderful home to many .

  3. Sharebeauty

    There was always a Malecon where we could walk and take in the sunset. There were also vibrant shops behind the Malecon for locals and tourists alike . You could find original designs and interesting regional Mexican artsania . Centro was fun to wander around . Open the Malecon & lower rents !

  4. the reason stores are having trouble is1)HIGH RENTS…AND 2) OBSOLETEbusinesses that would not attract shoppers no matter what. The malecon is beautiful, the business aspect is what needs the MAKEOVEr

    1. You nailed it!! I never go into the shops on the malecon because it’s either 1) something I”m not interested in or 2) can’t afford because they are targeting tourists so hard-working locals can’t afford to pay the high prices. I really hope they don’t reopen it or we will go way less frequently.

  5. Thank you for the clarification. Another important reason that the smaller family stores are closing is the same reason in the United States, Walmart. Family owned business anywhere are impacted by Walmart low prices.

  6. There is a lot of confusion. The stores that have been impacted by the closing of the malecon road are not the stores on the malecon, but the stores on the roads that were forced to take on the extra traffic when the malecon street was closed. The stores being impacted are not tourist stores for the most part, they are services, art stores, household goods, and clothing stores that have served the community of Puerto Vallarta for years and even decades. They were financially secure until the changes in traffic patterns that made their stores harder to access by car and on foot. The shops on the malecon are facing another issue, the landlords believe the malecon has increased their property value so they have jacked up rent and even broke leases with people forcing them out for another business willing to pay more, but that isn’t related to the street closing on the malecon. There are real family businesses by real locals who have served the community for years and before many of us every visited Puerto Vallarta, they are being driven out of business because of bad city planning and their stores now being less accessible and their streets less walking friendly as they once were.

    1. I moved to PV in 2001…before Wal-mart, Plaza Caracol, Costco. Back then we had nowhere to shop but centro. Either that or drive the 5 hours to Guadalajara.But now we don’t have to go downtown since we have so many other shopping plazas and stores around town…and they are less expensive. I really do not see how opening up the malecon is going to affect people where people want to spend their money. Even if the malecon is open, I’ll still go to places that are easier to get to and closer to my home…like Fluvial, Pitillal, and the Hotel Zone.
      This happens in towns all over. I’m from Dallas and as the suburbs grew…less people went to downtown to shop and do business.

    2. I’ve been here for 35 years and closing the Malecon to traffic is the worst political decision I’ve seen in all that time and second is eliminating all the parking!

  7. THA WILL BE THE BIGGEST STUPIDITY OF ALL, the main problem of why the malecon its empty its because the high rents and because there is no more family options there anymore, in the past you have all kind of buinesses there, also cultural activities and now all are cantinas, basr and clubs, its dark and feel unsafe, you need to have variety of different options to cover all needs and all market not just the drunk and party people. It is Sad and open to the traffic will not be a solution that it is a step back.

  8. As a foreign tourist I recommended leaving the Malecon closed to vehicle traffic. The boardwalk is a nice, safe place to walk & relax the way it is now as if it were designed for both local and tourist business. If too many business are closing or not getting the customer traffic they desire they may want to consider the product they are selling & their prices. They were many businesses that we did not go into because of this reason.

  9. NOOOOO! I like it the way it is now! Being able to drive down the Malecon has nothing to do with the success of the businesses there. With more and more businesses opening on the Hotel Zone, Fluvial, Old Town, and Nuevo Vallarta…there is less need for people to go to Centro and the Malecon to shop. Increasing car trafic is not going to bring more business…just cause more congestion. PV has changed…10-12 years ago we had nowhere to shop but the Malecon but times have changed with the growth of the outlining areas.

    1. I think you are misunderstanding the issue, as many people do. This isn’t about the stores on the malecon, it’s about the stores behind the malecon. I am horrible with road names, but when the road between the malecon and storefronts was closed to cars, they were rerouted to the road behind the malecon, pushing the Oceanside traffic one block inland. The old malecon road also used to offer a return point back to the hotel zone which no longer exisits, now cars rerouted to the road behind the malecon choose many of the side streets as their uturn point to head back north after doing their centro business. This has caused the new main avenue and the sidestreets to become major throughways when before they were relatively low traffic and storefront walking streets. That does not exist any longer. Sales dropping have nothing to do with development outside of the center, downtown still records more people than there were three years ago and some businesses are thriving, but not the ones who were forced to take on the added traffic to their once walkable streets.

    2. I don’t get it Justin, there are sidewalks. I think the closed storefronts have more to do with outrageous rents, not enough quality or interesting shopping and people are staying in the burbs.

    3. Sidewalks only serve the side of the street you are walking. We can guess all we want, but the real players who owned businesses in this area have clearly posted signs that they were forced to close because of a lack of pedestrian traffic and sales. We need to take their word for that because just observing does not make us experienced. My guess is there is a mix of high rent and declined sales for those businesses whose streets were forced to take on the extra traffic. And the rents went up after the new malecon was built, so wouldn’t that indicate either way, the new malecon has caused both problems anyway?

  10. Noooooooo! It would be a huge mistake. I totally oppose to it. We have never enjoyed the malecón more than now that they closed it (and I drive). Don’t touch it, please!!

  11. Politicians say a lot of things to get elected, mostly it amounts to nothing. The flipside is that when the construction on the revamped malecon started over 3 years ago, much of the comments were the plan was too much like Cabo and Cancun and it was a huge mistake. The malecon has always been our pride and joy, we have walked it for years, taken photos and posted them on social networks with pride, and car or no car that isn’t going to change,… or last very long. But in the end, right now it’s simply empty political promises for votes.

  12. If the shops could figure out how to capitalize on all the pedestrian traffic, it would be a win-win. Businesses need to offer something customers want. You can’t open an ice store on the north pole and blame the government for your failure.

  13. The new malecon if anything has created a spending distraction. People used to have the choice to shop in centro or walk the malecon. They were separate events. If you were out to shop you walked on the shopping side of the street and browsed stored. If you just wanted a stroll along the coast you walked the malecon. Now intended shoppers are distracted by statues and sidewalk vendors, not to mention overlooking our wonderful bay, so they are no longer shop browsing as much as they used to when choosing to shop forced you to stay on the commercial side of the street. That is my personal experience anyway from an economic view, not just what i like in my own life. And I think eventually the malecon will open to cars again because in the end we need to allow for people from outside of centro and old town to travel into our downtown easier. Most people buzzing around downtown travel in to spend money, unlike many of us who live here and just use the malecon as a walkway and do most of our buying away from that area.

    1. You can get to downtown super easy as it is. They have wide sidewalks on every street to get to all the shops that are on Morelos. If they reopen the malecon it will be less family-friendly. I hated going to the malecon with my kids before because of all of the traffic.

  14. lzbvl6

    I enjoy walking on the Malecon as much as everybody else but I can see the business owners stand-point too. Look at all the Malecon businesses that have closed over the past couple of years. I say open it back up to limited vehicle traffic but only at specific times (like between 10:00pm and 06:00am except for special events of course). Maybe extend the driving hours during the off-season. No buses or trucks (unless making deliveries) and install some speed bumps.

  15. It’s great the way it is now. Hated the risk of being ran down every time you needed to cross the street! It takes away from some of the excitement of people watching from the balcony of my favorite restaurant…betting on who’s going to make it across the street!

    1. Don’t be fooled. Businesses have lost 50% or more in sales since the new malecon. Yes, rents were increased because landlords believe the city hype that the malecon was great for business in the area and landlords believe that makes their property more valuable. Most shopkeepers were hadly making it with the sales decrease and then pushed overboard by the rent increase. But they were hardly surviving after the new malecon anyway. The landlord just put them out of their misery.

    2. Justin Loman And as the new Malecon was being put in…Fluvial, Nuevo Vallarta, the Hotel Zone, and Old Town were also developing. It has nothing to do with the Malecon being open or closed to cars…it is because of the town’s growth in other areas.

    3. You cannot compare the infrastructure of Boston with Puerto Vallarta. My guess is that Boston provides a safe way to get from car to shop without walking across major intersections without traffic lights and speed bumps. I also believe Boston has a rail system to transport people and law abiding buses.

  16. It is always the people who live outside Centro who want traffic. They are all over at the Marina where one can walk around the harbour with no traffic. Leave it the way it is, please.

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