lunes, 21 de abril de 2014

Four Wheels More Important Than Two?

Two cyclists Sunday near Calle 26. La Ciclovia was cancelled for drivers' benefit, yet car traffic was very light.
Ousted Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro may not have done as much as many of us had hoped for cycling - but he did at least sing bicycling's praises, and give bikes some priority. That's most evidenced on Seventh Ave, which Petro pedestrianized and added a bike lane.

Skaters on 26th Street on
Good Friday's Ciclovia.
But bicycling's status may be dropping under the post-Petro placeholder mayors. Bogotá is famous for its Sunday-Holiday Ciclovia, when some main streets and avenues are shut down to cars. This Sunday, however, city officials surprised us by canceling La Ciclovia so as not to inconvenience holiday drivers returning to the city.

Bicycling down Ave. Septima
during last Thursday's Ciclovia.
Admittedly, they did schedule two Ciclovia's last week, on Thursday and Friday. And, with many Bogotanos either out of town or celebrating Easter with their families, the cyclist turnout was light over Easter.

However, the predicted rush of motorists into the city didn't seem to appear at all - or at least until after La Ciclovia had ended at 2 p.m.

Would they have taken this Snday's Ciclovia away  if Petro were still mayor? I doubt it.

Bicyclists share Ave. Septima with a bus on Sunday,
when the avenue would normally be closed for La Ciclovia.
Ciclovias have been cancelled previously to keep those annoying bicyclists out of the way of drivers returning to the city. It's symptomatic of transit planners' mindset that cars are important, while bicycles are nothing more than recreational vehicles whose primary duty is to not inconvenience motorized vehicles.

I hope we won't lose Petro's unfortunately few contributions to urban cycling: the on-street bicycling lanes and the pedestrianization of Ave. Septima.

Bicyclists on the Ave. Septima Ciclovia. Will the mayor reopen it to cars and eliminate the bike lane?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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