The Life-Sized City Blog: Bicicleta Bogotá

Bogotá! Copenhagenize just returned home from Bogotá, Colombia where our friends at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) invited us to speak at their Transport Systems Summit. This energetic team has done amazing work the past year, a few of their projects include opening new Bus Rapid Transit systems and building protected bicycle lanes along the Reforma in Mexico City. Their world wide strategies for sustainable transport and urban development are unparalleled. Now they are taking it to the next level, combining these technical innovations and sustainable concepts with positive communication. Communication that wins hearts and minds. So we headed to Bogotá for a little inspiration.

Citizen cyclists, a little calm in the middle of a two way traffic storm. These bicycle paths/walkways dividing the traffic were easily my favorite aspect of the city. Some were brick, some were dirt, all were surrounded by trees and flowers. An A to B style greenway. We like it.Not always easy to get to though, the city also features separated lanes like the one shown in the top image. Implemented in 1995, the bi-directional paths that are level with the sidewalk don't exactly follow best practice, but hey they are well used. And we're impressed with the 300+ kilometer CicloRutas bicycle highway networks across the city. Here's a city and bicycle route overview, a huge map for a huge city, the bicycle paths are the dotted orange lines:

Signage on CicloRutas, this section sees about 15,000 bicyclers every day.

Rain or shine, there were always lots of vendors along the way. Some selling papaya mango passion fruit drinks from cargo bikes, others with bicycle repair stands. Regardless the venture, it is obvious that bicycles are an important and established aspect of Bogotáno culture.

Just when I thought I'd seen everything bicycle culture related a girl could see- I mean we live in Copenhagen, the city of cyclists, for goodness sakes- Bogotá happened. I am still awed and inspired by the fabulous people we met, the visionary politicians, and the transit systems (more developed than those in the American cities I grew up in). Many many thanks again to the ITDP for making the trip possible through all your hard work and for the adventures in bicycle and transit culture. We'll be writing more about it the next few days.

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