martes, 24 de julio de 2012

'The Bicycle as an Alternative' to Bogotá's Traffic Jams

'The Bicycle as Alternative' to Bogotá's Traffic Jams'
Today's El Tiempo editorialized in favor of promoting bicycling as a transport alternative, by building more bike parking lots and bike lanes. Bicycling is a "healthy and free-moving form of transport, whose use doesn't produce congestion and if friendly to the environment."

They're completely correct, of course - but the ambitious editorial and Bogotá's still-enduring reputation as a cycling-friendly city make the reality all the more sad. Certainly, Mayor Peñalosa did make Bogotá a pioneer - but the city's lagged since then, and its few recent efforts have been half-hearted.

A cyclist enters a public bike parking facility near La Candelaria.
The ground floor of the two-story parking building. 
A few years ago, this bike parking building opened near the Las Aguas TransMilenio station - altho only after years of delay. The building is also unnecessarily expensive and its design could be much better - but it seems to be a success. Today a guard told me that they get about 200 users a day, who park their bikes free of charge. If a significant proportion of those people are using their bikes because of the convenient and free parking, then I bet it's a good deal for the city in reduced pollution, congestion and improved health, not to mention for the cyclists themselves.
But only a few TransMilenio stations offer bicycle parking. Simple bike racks, located near security guards, at all TransMilenio stations would give a big boost to cycling. Why the city hasn't done this is beyond my comprehension. 

But this just-finished TransMilenio station on 26th St. and Carrera Decima - located right above a Cicloruta - appears to lack bike parking. 
A free bike lending program on the closed portion of Seventh Ave. 
Cyclists pedaling on a portion of Ave. Septima closed to cars while the bridge over 26th Street is replaced. 
Unfortunately, Septima looks to be reopened soon, meaning that cyclists will once again suffer, like this guy on the nearby 19th St. 
This homeless man found a home - in one of Bogotá's Ciclorutas, or bike lanes.
Unfortunately, recent mayors have done little to expand or even maintain Bogotá's once-vaunted bike lane network. This guy, one of many who camp or park cars in the bike lane behind the Central Cemetery, is indicative of the importance which officialdom gives to cyclists' needs.

A bus belches smoke today on Ave. 19. 
Can't help leaving out this photo I tood this afternoon. Why would anybody subject themself to toxic chemical attack?

By Mike Ceaser of Bogotá Bike Tours

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