By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council authorized the Police Chief to hire two temporary part-time traffic controllers for use on Imperial Avenue during high traffic periods.
Traffic congestion on Imperial Ave. has increased substantially during the last few months due to the new federal program stated by the Mexican Government known as SIAVE. It is supposed to search for illegal weapons from crossing into Mexico in all of its ports of entry. This program is part of the Merida Initiative approved by the U.S. Congress in 2008 to help Mexico with the War on Drugs. But it also has jammed up traffic.
The new surveillance program takes eight seconds to inspect each car, making long lines to cross into Mexico. It was reported that on December 24, 2009 people trying to cross to Mexicali waited three hours in the line. High traffic on Imperial Ave. was only seen in December but now those long lines will be seen from now on, according to Chief Jim Neujahr.
The Calexico Police Department uses full time parking enforcement officers, Part-time Traffic Controllers, and Student Workers from Imperial Valley College, to control the traffic congestion. As the Parking Enforcement Officers must also perform their parking duties during the day, their hours are staggered to have some of them to be available in the afternoon .
Much of the current traffic congestion is seasonal and may subside later when the agricultural season comes to an end, Neujahr said.
Calexico depends a lot on the IVC student workers, more often during the holidays; many of their hours have been used. There is no replacement for the workers and our resources assigned to perform the traffic control function will be less and there will be only a few city paid workers available, Neujahr said.
In other items, the council decided to table an item that would put a measure on the ballot that would propose a half cent sales tax for police and fire. This same measure was put on the ballot last year and failed to pass to due a lack of campaigning by the City of Calexico. It was decided by the City Council to table this item since Mayor David Ouzan was absent from this meeting and has been the one promoting the measure to be put for the voters of Calexico.
By Mario Conde