Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Doomed Scheme for La Septima

A typical traffic-choked day on Carrera Septima. 
Carrera Septima has been a story of futility for Bogotá transit. It's Bogotá's most iconic avenue, but also one of its most polluted and chaotic.

City leaders have proposed one solution after another, but put virtually none of them into action. There was the idea of a TransMilenio line along La Septima, which died a quiet death. Then Samuel Moreno's proposal for a 'TransMilenio Light' line, which died with Moreno's imprisonment. Petro's idea of a light rail line has run up against legal and technical obstacles. About the only novelty on the avenue are TransMilenio's flex 'ecobuses,' which are low pollution, but get trapped in the same congestion as other vehicles.

Now, the city plans to create a TransMilenio-style bus-only lane on Carrera Septima. It's a good idea in principle - but where tires hit the road, the best-laid plans can fail.

The outside, right-hand lanes are to be bus-only. But what will happen when a truck stops to load or unload?
A truck stopped on Carrera Septima, in what is to an exclusive bus lane. 
And will Bogotá's drivers, known for ignoring laws, respect a lane just because there's a dividing line painted there? TransMilenio lanes are protected by a concrete barrier...
A TransMilenio lane on Ave. Caracas in Bogotá, protected by a cement divider.
yet, nevertheless, on some avenues, cars and buses illegally invade the TransMilenio lanes.
Regular buses illegally using a TransMilenio lane on Carrera Decima.
Exclusive bus lanes are a good idea, as would be car-pool lanes. But Bogotanos' lack of respect for the law will probably make this yet another one of Petro's idealistic schemes which will fall to earth when it meets the reality on the street. 

In any case, here's another doomed suggestion:

When they implement this scheme, how about prohibiting those rolling chimneys from the bus-only lanes? 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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