Originally published on Gas2.
Bogotá, Colombia, has a new vision for bicycle transit. A new message if you will. As part of the city’s 16th annual Car-Free Day, February 4th, the people helped transform one lane of a bustling city street into a two-way bike-only lane. The city had already introduced a bike lane on the street 16 years ago, but it has been shared with pedestrian traffic and a change has been in the hearts and minds of cyclists of the city.
The city with a history of progressing transit ideals is sending a message to its citizens by responding to their transportation needs. Having previously instituted a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System TransMilenio and over 250 miles of bike lane just does not seem to be enough to remedy Bogotá’s travel woes. Travel in Bogotá still suffers from high congestion, low air quality, poor citizen satisfaction with public transportation, and a high instance of traffic fatalities.
A bold statement was made on February 4th regarding the importance of cyclists and pedestrian traffic. Mayor Enrique Penalosa has pledged to make Bogotá’s transit “the best in the developing world” and aims to double the number of cyclists and improve public transit. Will these promises be kept?
The street in question, Carrera 11, has long since been a hot topic in the Bogotá public transportation debate. As the street has transformed since the 1940s, retail spots have replaced domestic residential homes. It is now an entertainment district peppered with offices and shops.
The street has undergone many changes over the last decade. It went from a one-way, to a two-way, and back to a one-way street but with added pedestrian and bike lanes.
Progression does not come easy. Taking space away from cars is not an easy task to convince commuters to accommodate. Despite only 10% of trips being made by car, Bogotá residents still had a hard time accepting bike lanes on the busy drag. To read more, I implore you to read this article.