Yesterday, during an inauguration ceremony, city leaders announced implementation plans for Guadalajara’s first low emissions zone, around the historic city centre’s busy Ramón Corona intersection, in what is being considered the country’s first such effort to clean the air, improve road safety and reduce emissions by increasing infrastructure for active travel and regulating the access of polluting vehicles in the 2 square kilometres polygon.

The move is part of Guadalajara’s broader efforts to reduce road injuries and deaths while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combat the climate crisis.

Interim Mayor of Guadalajara Juan Francisco Ramírez Salcido and State Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez attended the inaugural ceremony alongside other government and civil society leaders. Both the city and the State of Jalisco are committed to improving accessibility and security where a high number of people converge. The Ramón Corona intersection, for example, sees more than 170,000 trips daily in all means of transportation.

C40 closely collaborated with Guadalajara’s Mobility and Transport, and Environment Directorates, conducting thorough technical work alongside the city’s Institute of Planning and Development Management of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (IMEPLAN). Working together, the historic centre of Guadalajara was chosen as the designated area for the city’s first LEZ intervention. This decision marks a significant step toward achieving the city’s climate goals. The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara’s climate action plan (PACmetro), released in 2020, received the United Nations Global Climate Action Award in the Climate Leader category during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). The plan was the first instrument built on a metropolitan scale in Mexico and within the C40 network.

Guadalajara’s LEZ covers an area of 2 square kilometres in the city’s historic centre where, over the past decade, various measures were implemented to improve mobility, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and urban nature, with designated spaces and schedules for loading and unloading goods, speed limits of 30 km/h, all in an effort to prioritise road safety while creating dynamic, healthy and enjoyable public spaces. The LEZ reflects a consolidated vision of a healthy, resilient, inclusive and sustainable city.

Technical studies conducted for the project revealed that cars are the main source of emissions in the historic centre of Guadalajara, followed by motorcycles and light cargo vehicles. Furthermore, it is estimated that the interventions carried out in Paseo Alcalde (between 2008 and 2023) have mitigated 90% of greenhouse gases in this corridor and reduced road crashes by 53.3%.

Based on estimations of the impacts of these actions and the ambitious plans of the city, there is potential of reducing CO₂ by 90%, black carbon by 92% and increasing life expectancy by 0.46 years for users of the area by 2030, due to the reduction of risks associated with emissions and bad air quality. Additionally, it is expected to attract 141,962 new pedestrians and 4,912 new cyclists annually as a result of the transition towards a more sustainable and healthier urban environment.

Guadalajara is positioned as a leader in urban mobility by promoting the implementation of the first LEZ in Mexico. These actions will be maintained and progressively expanded after Thursday’s launch. The city has not only marked a milestone in its commitment to climate action and sustainable mobility but has charted a bold path towards an urban future cleaner, safer and more resilient city.

Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, State Governor of Jalisco, said: “It was possible to convert the city centre into a space from which tapatía families are now enjoying. And we are building an agenda that, in addition, is promoting sustainable mobility, is activating the economy of the area, and where we see today new economic development projects that generate jobs and opportunities.”

Juan Francisco Ramírez Salcido, Interim Mayor of Guadalajara, said: “The heart of the city has experienced one of the most important transformation processes in its history. Just look at what has happened with the pedestrianisation of Avenida Fray Antonio Alcalde or with Line 3 of our Light Train, these two works contributed to this space changing from being an avenue with high levels of noise and pollution to becoming, as you all here can see, in a wooded, accessible and safer space, where we can enjoy with all our families.”

Jon Benjamin, UK Ambassador to Mexico, said: “I am very pleased that Guadalajara is the pioneer city in Mexico, and one of the first in Latin America, to adopt the strategies of the Urban Climate Action Programme, through which we have been able to support.”

Ilan Cuperstein, C40’s Regional Director for Latin America, said: “The low emission zone in Guadalajara stands as a remarkable strategy that contributes to health, better urban spaces, road safety and emissions reduction. Among its notable benefits is the improvement of air quality, thus contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment, which is especially urgent to address the climate crisis while also improving the quality of life of tapatíos.”

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