|Coming to Bogotá? Seattle was digging a car tunnel under the city, but the huge digging machine got stuck, obliging the city to dig this huge pit to reach and repair the machine. (Photo: Grist)|
|A map of Bogotá's proposed first subway line.|
For decades, Bogotá has dreamed of building a subway, but never figured out a way to pay for it.
Bogotá leaders seem to want to have a subway more for reasons of status than of practicality. After
all, a subway is about the most expensive sort of mass transit and takes the longest time to build.
Bogotá wants a subway for two mistaken reasons:
A) Bogotanos believe that a tunnel will cure its traffic jams.
|A traffic jam on Calle 26. |
A subway line won't solve this.
B) Bogotá wants to be a world-class city like New York, London and Paris.
Perhaps Bogotá leaders would do well to see that being a world class city means much more than having an underground train. It means having a strong, varied, economy, world-class universities, impressive parks and architecture, great culture, science, little corruption, and on and on. Bogotá still has a long way to go.
Rather than recognizing that a subway is beyond reach, and focusing on faster, cheaper forms of transit, such as light rail, elevated rail or more bus rapid transit, Bogotá is scrambling for other financing formulas. The city will dig itself into a massive debt and have to suspend other, more pressing transit projects. By the time a subway line is finally finished - if that day comes - the city will be overwhelmed by car traffic and the streets gridlocked.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours