Crossing 23 and L, a new vital experience for ordinary Cubans

Crossing 23 and L, a new vital experience for ordinary Cubans

The flow of cars in a crowded area like El Vedado in Havana is fast and constant. Those who, this week, have tried to cross 23rd Street without the help of the pedestrian traffic lights – all off – know it well. The horn of annoying drivers accompanies those who, at the edge of the sidewalk, begin the hunt for the right moment to cross.

The disabling of eight pedestrian traffic lights at the intersection of 23 and L has unleashed traffic chaos. This Wednesday, an old woman asked in the crowd of people that she was waiting for an opportunity to cross, if the absence of red and green flashes was due to a blackout. “There is electricity, ma’am. Look how the traffic lights for cars work, but the pedestrian ones are all broken,” someone reported.

For months the people of Havana have been witnessing how the street lights are going out. First one melts, then another and, a few weeks later, a stone hits the glass of a third. And no one repairs the damage.

Finally, this Wednesday, all the lights destined to regulate the passage in 23 and L went out. Now people cross instinctively. The common thing is to wait for a brave man to jump in and the others follow him. Other times the cars slow down and passersby sense that it is time to jump.

So far, a Police officer has not been arranged to regulate traffic until the light signals can be restored. Young people rush, run and lose their fear after several attempts. But the elderly and children are left behind.

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