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Old 06-12-2019, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Which cities/towns are most walkable in these two islands. San Juan appears tops, but it is probably only in that old colonial area....but that could be the said the same about Santo Domingo? What all do you think?

Second-cities PONCE vs Santiago as well...Ponce looks fantastic, by the way.

How about other towns in either of the two islands/locations?
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:46 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 16 days ago)
 
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San Juan is better for walking, but both cities are very car centric. In San Juan it can vary, but in most places you have a clear sidewalk and lowered corners. In Santo Domingo it varies more than in San Juan. It is easier to find public transport in Santo Domingo while in San Juan you basically have to depend on a rental, a taxi, a Uber or a private car. Public transport is much more scarce in that city. The metro is more extensive in Santo Domingo where at rush hour it can be crowded (its still under-serving the city, but it is still expanding with two lines at the time of writing) than the one in San Juan which is mostly empty most of the time. The train in San Juan’s metro looks a lot like NYC’s while in Santo Domingo the stations look like the ones in Madrid and the trains are the exact same as in Barcelona, both cities in Spain. In San Juan some people follow the yield to pedestrian by car drivers and the walking lights where they exist. In Santo Domingo almost no one gives a right to a pedestrian. Where ever walking lights exist they are simply for decoration because no one follows them. There’s a saying in the DR: “pedestrians are not people.” Some folks are trying to change this, but I think it will take generations. In Puerto Rico outside of San Juan’s Metro Area you are basically on your own. Public transport hardly exist.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Puerto Rico sounds like much of the Mainland U.S.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Puerto Rico sounds like much of the Mainland U.S.
There used to be a very extensive train system, up until the late 1950s...the big three US automakers gladly paid to tear up most of the tracks and build expressways instead...the collapse of the sugar industry there finished off the rest.

I hear that Uber is coming up there now (no different than the Mainland though), but the loss of carros públicos is tough. When I lived there I could get one all the way to San Juan from the west coast and to get to the airport and not fool with parking or anything...now I hear a lot of those routes are dying, since so many people are leaving the ones who stay are just keeping their cars running. You can still do long-haul routes to and from San Juan to other cities like Ponce and Mayaguez, but local routes from town to town and to the beaches and all that have all but disappeared in these trying economic times. I remember It wasn´t uncommon to see people keep 1985 Corollas running, since the alternative of being carless outside of San Juan is devastating.

I do think that Santiago is way easier to get around without a car compared to Ponce, but with no metro system like Santo Domingo, it´s not super easy.

Last edited by aab7855; 06-13-2019 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:03 AM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 16 days ago)
 
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Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post
I do think that Santiago is way easier to get around without a car compared to Ponce, but with no metro system like Santo Domingo, it´s not super easy.
Santiago doesn’t have a transition zone like Santo Domingo have. There are no colonial buildings in the city because what wasn’t destroyed by various earthquakes through the centuries have been destroyed during the multiple invasions.

The city had never been protected with a wall, despite that as early as 1600’s the French invaded from the west and laid to waste the western Cibao including its main city of Santiago. The people left running for La Vega and Moca as the French got closer to the city, invaded the city, and laid the place to waste. It was the first of many invasions that first the French and then the Haitians made in their attempt to get first the Spaniards and then the Dominicans to western rule.

If you notice, the only thing from colonial times is the street grid in the Center and the parks areas which was open plazas in colonial times. The main buildings and churches have been rebuilt. In 1805 the Haitians even committed a massacre of Dominicans that included the Santiago population that didn’t hid in the forests and the mountains. Many people jumped in the Yaque del Norte River that cuts south of the Center, some with their children on hand, when the Haitians rushingly invaded the town and killed every thing that moved (everyone that jumped in the river died, because at that point there is a deep gorge between the town and the river.) You would think they would had learn their lessons by that time, considering the invasions they witness by then, but nope. In future invasions the town remained with no walls for protection.

Anyways, there are many historic buildings in the Center, but they are all from the 1800’s and some from the first half of the 20th century. Then everything opens up, even the streets get abruptly wider and windier, and the city becomes modern with no transition.

In Santo Domingo you can see stages in the buildings, starting with the colonial buildings in its Colonial Zone and working your way to the modern city. Both cities are mostly car centric because most of the urban space was built in the last 30 to 40 years. I still think its still easier to get public transport in Santiago than in Ponce. There is no metro in both cities, though they are already talking about it for Santiago.

As can be noted, the Spaniards had the whole island plus adjacent ones to themselves for about 200 years. Then the French settled in the northwestern coast in the 1600’s, which was basically empty but had lots of cattle that ran away from the Spanish, and since then have been fighting first the French and then the Haitians. Both initially wanted to get rid of the Spanish on the island and keep the whole island to themselves. The latter, after realizing they couldn’t force the Dominicans to take up their ways or to get rid of them, decided to focus on gaining more land to themselves.

Last edited by AntonioR; 06-14-2019 at 10:14 AM..
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