Thursday, February 5, 2015

Car-Free Day: The Good, the Bad and the Futile

Jimenez Avenue in La Candelaria was crowded with pedestrians this afternoon. Bogotá's brilliant mayor suspended bus service on the avenue between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Today's Car-Free Day saw a big turn-out of cyclists, a bit less pollution and proof that, yes, you really can travel across town without traveling alone in a huge, polluting, gas-guzzling machine.

Cyclists on Carrera Septima. Its bike lane was packed. Hopefully, a few of these people will pedal again tomorrow.
The day's most dramatic change was not the air quality, which reportedly improved by only 5%, or even the traffic which actually moved, but the boom in bicycling. Carrera Septima's bike lane was actually crowded, and even suffered momentary traffic jams. 

Hopefully, some of these folks will pedal again tomorrow. 

Bumper-to-bumper bicycles on Carrera Septima.
But, today, as every day, those vehicles called 'rolling chimneys' belched on, unconcerned about being sanctioned.

A bus leaves behind a river of smoke on Carrera 10.
A TransMilenio bus, the 'pride' of Bogotá, pours out smoke.
Traffic was light in La Candelaria, so it actually moved.
Here's a nearby stretch of Carrera 3 yesterday, experiencing its normal traffic jam.
The TransMilenio system carried 13% more passengers than on a normal day.
And the SITP system's passengers rose 23%, yet this bus was still mostly empty.
Great news on Car-Free Day! Last year set a record for new car sales, and this year's already outpacing it!
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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