Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Polemical Stoplight

A TransMilenio bus passes beside the red light on Carrera 30, the NQS. The light stops traffic to enable the TM buses to turn onto and from 26th St. Notice that, even tho the light is red for TM and thus green for the regular  traffic, the regular traffic is not moving.
The light's green. A TM bus prepares
to turn left, toward 26th St. 
This stoplight installed a week ago on the Ave. NQS, or Carrera 30, near the Universidad Nacional, to enable TransMilenio buses to pass between the NQS and 26th St., has produced complaints from drivers angered over having to stop for buses on Bogotá's only 'freeway.'

Except that it isn't.

Carrera 30/NQS becomes a huge traffic jam every day during rush hours, as well as much of the rest of the day. But motorists take these stoppages for granted. It's when they have to stop for a bus that they cry that things are unjust.
Green light. The TM bus turns
across the avenue toward 26th St.

A TransMilenio official explained that the stoplight was the least inconvenient solution for enabling the buses to pass between Carrera 30 and 26th St, and that it was justified because "the majority use TransMilenio," while only a small minority of Bogotanos drive private cars. That's true enough. But the deeper truth here is that cars are a dead end transit solution. Just take a look at the traffic jams on these avenues. Facilitating mass transit is the only realistic solution for moving people across Bogotá.

And that means inconveniencing private cars to favor buses.

A massive and routine rush hour traffic jam on 26th St. 
And a daily traffic jam on the NQS, Carrera 30. 
No coordination. The light turned green, stopping traffic, but no TM bus arrived to use the turn lane. The incomprehensible fact that, after a decade of operation, the TransMilenio buses still don't get priority at intersections, is another matter...
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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