Saturday, September 15, 2012

'Revitalizing' Ave. Septima

City workers prepare the avenue....
Bogotá's government has begun a scheme to 'revitalize' the Ave. Septima by banning private cars from Plaza Bolivar all the way north to Calle 24. Private buses will be permitted, but only is some lanes and only from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. 
...with the help of these
young tree planters. 

Certainly, businesses and some residents will complain. But if they can keep the avenue free of chaos and informality, the system could be a big improvement. It already is for cyclists and pedestrians, who can walk safely during the day and don't have to gag on diesel. Fundamental to the new plan should be requiring the buses to pick up passengers only at designated bus stops. And why not also limit the street to buses which actually have pollution control devices installed?

The public bikes program had lent
out all but one of its bicycles. 
I also wonder whether the city jumped the gun by implementing this before the much-delayed TransMilenio lines on Carrera 10 and Calle 26 are completely functional. Today, TransMilenio buses began running on the southern end of Carrera 10, and are supposed to operate on the rest by the end of the month (only two years behind schedule). The Calle 26 line probably won't reach La Candelaria for several months yet, as anorther bridge has to be rebuilt. 

But on nearby Carrera 10 chaos continues. The city says that TransMilenio buses will begin operating on this stretch of tenth by the end of the month - only two years late. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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