A very good article in The New Statesman this week, written by Enrico Penalosa, former Mayer of Bogota - a city the population size of London - which has (according to a Bogota resident who stayed with friends here in Christchurch) "fantastic cycleways" and a city which showed that buses can do what rail can do, but better, reaching deeper into all areas, running more frequently, without need for huge underground tunnels, and at much lower infrastructure costs.
Penalosa is one of the few politicians in the world to speak honestly and logically about where a civilised world must go if it is to create effective, democratic, and attractive transport alternatives.
A couple of quotes from the longer article;
" Basic democracy: if all citizens are equal before the Law
as Constitutions state in their first article, then a citizen on a $ 30
bicycle has the same right to safe mobility as one on a $30,000 car;
and a bus with 100 passengers has a right to 100 times more road space
than a car with one. It is not only democratic; it is the most
efficient way of using a scarce resource such as road space.To clarify
this let´s imagine a catastrophe leaves us with enough fuel for only 5%
of vehicles in a city, to whom would we allocate it? For survival, we
would necessarily allocate it to trucks and buses. Now, if what is
scarce is not fuel, but rather road space, shouldn´t we do likewise?"
and further along in the article....
"Bicycling is, in some respect,a more efficient way of walking. We built
hundreds of kilometers of protected bicycle ways and raised the number
of those biking to work from practically nothing to more than 350,000
daily. Riding to work saves a minimum wage earner two months' salary
every year. Bike ways protected bicyclists, but at least as important
was the symbolic effect: they showed a citizen on a $30 bicycle was as
important as one on a $ 30,000 car: they raised the social status of
bicyclists. Two projects for bicyclists were particularly significant:
Porvenir promenade, a 24 kilometer long pedestrian-and-bicycle-only
through low income areas south west of the city; and the Juan Amarillo
greenway, 32 kilometers long linking some very low income areas to the
highest income areas of the city. Both of those ¨bicycle highways¨
through one of the densest cities in the world are used by tens of
Read the full New Statesmn article here
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