The works developed by the Government to improve the interconnection between the capital and the west of the country are costly, but lack policies that prevent these new roads from becoming the main streets of residents who will surely look for ways to build around the new roads. The Interamericana, for example, was built before the existence of many of those towns that surround it today. This has resulted in the danger to which thousands of people are exposed who must cross its four lanes to move from one point to another within the towns they inhabit. The Government, to contain this impulse to build around the new roads, must adopt laws that allow the free circulation of vehicles, without the obstacles involved in crossing a village. In this way, collisions and collisions will be avoided, not counting works directed at pedestrians that do not use, such as overpasses. It is urgent that the Ministry of Public Works promote new legislation in this matter or, otherwise, we will have very expensive roads converted into small-town streets because nobody plans in Panama. LA PRENSA, Dec 24
Some ideas for new laws come from constituents, including certain businesses and professions that want regulations. It's true enforcement is lacking, but that could be said for the USA too, where the number of IRS auditors has declined dramatically, where speeding on major highways is SOP in some states.
When has a "waste of time and effort" ever been a deterrent for lawmakers? In Costa Rica it was stated accurately that lawmakers are applauded for passing laws -- like that is a good and Noble thing. Enforcing laws, on the other hand, is a "bad thing", so believe the citizenry. If the Ten Commandments can give us enough words -- 179 -- as guidelines to define our behavior to each other; the Gettysburg Address with 286 as a vision for a Nation; why do we need 26,911 to regulate the sale of cabbage? Answer: so lawmakers can (pretend to) earn their keep and keep us under control. Wouldn't want someone buying a cabbage that wasn't wrapped for sale in the required number if square inches of plastic wrap. We should require, instead, that lawmakers be bound in plastic wrap and put in cold storage until they can prove themselves useful.
It is a fool's errand to build stupid roads and then expect laws will make them functional. I avoid Panama City because there is no way a person unfamiliar with the street/highway system, can be functional there. Signs are either missing, late, erroneous, erratic, or make no sense, and maps are nonexistent. In Chiriqui, we have a brand new 4 lane road from Boquete to David, that was obviously built without anyone ever observing what the road is used for. It is lined with the houses of people who can only go in one direction when they leave. The retornos are not made for use from both directions, so it's often it's many miles to get to the correct retorno, to turn around, drive back past your house and then proceed to where you're going. There are places to turn left without retornos, that have no left turn lane, so people just stop in the middle of the lane of traffic. There are no speed-up lanes for entering the highway. There are no fewer than 100 bicyclists who ride from David to Boquete every day, horse travel is not uncommon, and many people still walk, but there is no alternative transportation lane. People in motorized wheelchairs, use the same freeway as 18 wheel truckloads of concrete blocks. Putting up signs that say 'no u turn' are useless, when the choice is either a u turn, or driving 5K in the wrong direction, only to come back on the other side of the road. There are hilarious signs on the road saying this is not a freeway, drive slow, but it is a freeway, just a totally dysfunctional one. Today i drove the open part of the new Ruta Sur, between Boquete and Potrerillos, that's currently being built. As this highway enters Potrerillos, it is barely wide enuf for 2 cars and a ditch on each side. There is NO accommodation for pedestrians, so a parent with a stroller will hold up traffic or be killed. There are little stores along the road with no parking. My last 3 trips out of 4, required i stop behind a delivery truck, parked in front of a store to deliver, while i waited for oncoming traffic to pass. This is an incomprehensible lack of planning and no regulating it's use can possibly fix it. Again, there is no bike lane but i promise you, there will be bikes. Along with lack of planning, I'd like to question lack of follow thru. It's my understanding that some number of trees must always be planted for every tree cut down. The Ruta Sur has sheared huge swaths in the canyons it crosses. Where have the new trees been planted? After the Ruta Sur passes thru and thoroughly disrupts Potrerillos Arriba, it goes downhill towards David, until the intersection with the road to Potrerillos Abajo, which is the previously built, other end of the Ruta Sur, going to Volcan. This intersection is around the hillside, across rolling hills from the Caldera intersection of the Boquete/David highway. If the David road had been used to this point for the Ruta Sur, then made the far easier crossing to where it connects to the Volcan end of the road, all of the useless environmental destruction, and the complete disruption of sleepy little Potrerillos, would have been avoided. So, a little planning could make a road functional, safer, a multi-use facility, less destructive, and less expensive, but we got this. Every environmentalist and every taxpayer with a conscience of safety, should be furious. This road is blatantly lacking function, wasteful and the perfect formula for highway deaths.
A good theory; however, laws alone are worthless. Panama demonstrates on a daily basis its inability or unwillingness to enforce existing laws. Until that is addressed, additional regulations are a waste of time and effort.