SLPD to increase traffic control downtown

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November 08, 2009 2:41 PM

SAN LUIS, Ariz. - This city's police department plans to put more officers on the street in traffic control details as longer lines of cars form at the border waiting to enter Mexico.
The police department normally starts the details in December, but plans to begin them this month as a result of congestion stemming from inspections by federal law enforcement officers' inspections of Mexico-bound vehicles, said Lt. Gerardo Torres, a spokesman for the department.
Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents have been doing the inspections as part of a joint effort by the U.S. and Mexican governments to stop the flow of illegal weapons and large sums of cash to drug cartels in Mexico.
"We want people to get used to seeing a greater police presence from now on, so they're not surprised by this operation," said Torres.
Lines are particularly long on Fridays, as farmworkers in the Yuma area return to their homes to Mexico for the weekends, he said, and police want to make sure motorists are obeying all traffic laws amid growing congestion.
Torres said more officers will be assigned to the downtown commercial district located just north of the border to ensure motorists are observing speed limits and parking restrictions, are using their seatbelts and are not drinking and driving.
In addition to the commuting farmworkers, an increase in the number of shoppers who come from Mexico to patronize businesses in San Luis and the Yuma area contributes to the congestion.
"The traffic increases by almost double in this season," Torres said. "Our recommendation would be that drivers allow themselves enough time if they plan to drive in the area, and if they don't need to drive in the area, that they do not, so they avoid delays."