One of the lanes in the new underpass on Calle 50 opened this week and traffic has already greatly improved.
Normally at 5:30 pm, traffic is at a standstill on Calle 50 and it was faster for me to walk an hour home than to wait for a bus or take a taxi. On Wednesday I noticed there was no traffic when I got to my normal starting point and that was immediately alarming. I thought maybe there was some holiday I was not informed about or just maybe this multi year construction project was finally over. I quickly did some research on Twitter and discovered a tweet from @TVNTrafico announcing that one lane of the new underpass had in fact been opened.
”” Trafico Urbano (@tvntrafico) January 15, 2014
I decided to give the bus a try again because I’ve always swore to myself that when the construction was over traffic would be more fluid and I could actually use the Metro Bus to get home. To get to San Francisco I have to board the Panama Viejo bus, which they have very few of on Calle 50 (one day I waited an hour and a half). This day I only had to wait 30 minutes for the bus so I tried it again the next day and only had a 10 minute wait time.
I am really thrilled at the improvements I am seeing with just one lane open. All lanes of the underpass are set to open on February 1 so it will be interesting to see how much further the traffic will improve. Now I just have to hope that people will stop buying so many cars in Panama!
In case anyone doesn’t know about the project, they basically got rid of stoplights at major intersections and created underpasses to improve traffic. Here’s a video with more details: