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Wheels of Misfortune

Cultures clash -- and crash -- in Curtis Park. Is this a terminal situation?

"Look," he says. "I'm not trying to cause problems for people. I'm just trying to look out for my investments, especially in this time when everything is down. If the city has something in writing about all the bus stations leaving at once, then I'd be more than happy to close the whole place up and run my people out of here. But if they get someplace that raises the rent to five grand, it ain't going to work. It's got to be somewhere they can afford."

Alfonso Carrillo Sr. hopes the city can strike a deal. He still comes to this corner when family visits from Mexico. But four years after the death of their son, he and his wife, Maria Elena, cannot easily speak about the intersection.

"It is dangerous," Maria Elena says through a whisper. "Very dangerous."

"My heart beats very fast when I see the children there," Alfonso says. "There are too many buses and too many people and too much traffic. Everything is all mingled together. I'm afraid something else will happen there, and that will be real sad."

Instead of pointing fingers, the Carrillos think the city and the bus companies should see this as a chance to improve conditions and attract more customers.

"Immigration is not going to stop," Alfonso says. "It's only going to increase. There is an opportunity now to make things right. In Mexico, everything is separate between the buses and the people. It is like a DIA for the buses. It is time for the authorities to follow other countries."

But until that happens, this corner of the city continues on its collision course. A Limousine Express bus rumbles forward at the same time as the Chihuahua bus, inspiring a chorus of horn blasts. A boy and his father come out of a parking lot and approach the curb alongside Champa. They gauge traffic a moment, then dart into the street.

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