After many years of complete deterioration Lima began to recover from its former bad image at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. Since 1995 the municipality of Lima has been implementing a successful recovery plan for the historic center of Lima, which was declared a "Cultural Patrimony of Humanity" by the UNESCO in 1996.
The Municipality of Lima "cleaned" the city center in an effort to remove many of the persistent street vendors (unfortunately there a still quite a lot left) and dodgy figures. Programs initiated by the government encouraged the citizens to be proud of their city, renovate buildings and "shape up" streets and parks in an attempt to recuperate the city's cultural heritage and of course to promote tourism.
Also other mayor works in Lima's historical center like new illumination, remodelling of parks and plazas, the repaving of sidewalks with terracotta, the planting of thousands of trees and daily maintenance paid off. The city center is much safer and nicer to look at. So just wander around and discover Lima's historical and multicultural past and present! The surroundings of the Rimac River were renewed, too (housing, new parks and pedestrian bridges). But the municipality did as well some mayor works in Lima's poor areas. Here the infrastructure was improved, hospitals and new schools were constructed and sporting grounds built. By far not enough, but at least a small step in the right direction.
Development of Lima (Maps from 1535 to 2006)
Around town, especially in the wealthier suburbs like Miraflores or San Isidro you can see changes every day. The district municipalities are anxious to improve their districts, but unfortunately a lot of old houses are demolished and skyscrapers built on their place.
Streets are repaved, parks and green areas are carefully looked after and finally the security for Limeños and tourists is improved with special police forces. As well a good beginning is made, but there is still a lot to do...
To somehow handle the massive traffic in Lima, many streets have been changed into highways and new expressways have been built. Until now these efforts didn't really ease the tension. A few years back the taxi system has been modernized. It is sad to say it, but this also has had no positive effect.
To cope with another mayor problem, the non-existing public transport system, the municipality of Lima began in 2007 the construction of Lima's Metropolitano, a modern public transport systems using gas powered articulated buses that circulate on a special bus lane. In 2010 the first route was inaugurated connecting Chorrillos in the south via Barranco, Miraflores, San Isidro and Lince with the City Center and further with Independencia and Comas in the north. 6 more routes are planned. The Metropolitano is extremely popular and at least relieves Lima's traffic at some points a little bit.
Finally in 2010 works on the fallow Tren Electrico, Lima's Metro, were restarted. Line 1, connecting in the first phase Villa El Salvador, San Juan de Miraflores, Surco and Surquillo with the city center should begin operations by July 2011, the extension to San Juan de Lurigancho is planned in the near future. The whole project consists of 3 additional routes that one day should link Chosica with Callao, Ate with Callao and Carabayllo with San Miguel.
Hopefully then the thousands of small old busses that drive like hell through town and pollute the air will be banned. It would be so nice when the fresh painted houses won't turn grey in one season anymore and the beautifully planted flowers and trees will stay green – not black.