Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Park for Central Bogotá?

TransMilenio buses turn around in the Santa Fe neighborhood. 
This huge area in the depressed Santa Fe neighborhood, but just blocks from the Torre Colpatria, was cleared of buildings to create turn-around lane for TransMilenio buses. Unfortunately, the lanes are now only lightly used, altho that will hopefully change as the TM system adds buses to its Calle 26 and Carrera 10 lines.

Several blocks of empty urban space here are evidently slated for the construction of a Central Station for the TM system, and perhaps a future subway. But that will take years, if it ever happens.

Meanwhile, why not roof over these lanes and turn the area into a badly needed Central Park for this depressed and very un-green neighborhood? For the capital of a football-crazy nation, central Bogotá has terribly few public football pitches (in part a result of the fact that several of the city's most important parks are on hillsides).

The turnaround lanes are just a few
blocks from the Centro Internacional.
City planners would surely respond that building a huge platform here would be hugely expensive. And they'd be right. But, not far away, the city has blown a fortune trying to roof over Calle 26 between Independence Park and the Modern Art Museum, a project which has stalled because of design problems and objections from wealthy neighbors. A park here, in contrast, would serve many more people and undoubtedly generate fewer objections.

This lot on Ave. Septima and Calle 19 has sat vacant for years, despite a sign announcing a shopping center. It would be ideal for a transit station and a public park. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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