Monday, September 2, 2013

A Handsome White Elephant for Ave. Septima?

The new Museo Nacional TransMilenio station, which includes a nice - but short - bike lane. 
Entrance to the Museo Nacional TransMilenio Station. 
TransMilenio's Museo Nacional station is finally taking form above ground - only about three years behind schedule and 50% over budget. The station's above ground sections provide an elegant addition to the Centro International/
Bavaria district, with benches, green space, bicycle lanes and parking and futuristic glass entrances. The station adds a pleasant island between the chaotic Avenidas Septima and Decima.

The station is expected to handle some 14,000 passengers per hour during rush hours, according to El Tiempo, altho many may feel stranded at the end of the TransMilenio line.

But the new station, located between the National Museum and the Centro Bavaria, will not provide what it was supposed to: Relief from the pollution, congestion and chaos of La Septima. In fact, it could even make things worse.

Cyclists pass by thru
Museo Nacional station.
Over the past several years, City Hall administrations have succesively proposed building TransMilenio 'light', a subway line and then a light rail line along La septima, as well as turning La septima into something called a 'green corridor.' None of those plans have advanced, while the avenue's troubles have worsened.

Traffic congestion on Ave. Septima will only get worse.
The new station will receive TransMilenio buses from the south on the Ave. Decima/Ave. Trece. But, instead of proceeding north on La Septima, those buses will turn around and head back south. To the north will proceed new hybrid fuel buses with entrances on both sides. But these buses won't have their own exclusive lanes - the key ingredient of Rapid Bus Transit systems like TransMilenio. Rather than easing transit along La Septima, by adding 200 new congestion will only worsen. Things would be different, of course, if the city actually had the will to remove excess, unneeded buses from the streets - but the Petro administration clearly does not.

A group of young people enjoy the new station's public space.
Trees planted in the new TransMilenio station, which adds public space and green to the area. 

The new station includes good public space. 

The ramp heading north from the station won't carry TransMilenio buses as once planned.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


This comment has been removed by the author.

the old buses will be withdrawn when transmilenio start trading.

Miguel said...

Let's hope they do actually withdraw the old buses, but I'll only believe it when I see it.