Sunday, May 25, 2008

Riding a Different Path

Lance Armstrong would love Bogotá, especially on Sundays. Why? Well, there are several reasons. Over the past decade, Bogotá has created the most extensive bicycle path system of any city in the world. With 303 kilometers of bike paths, many people can ride to work or for recreation without worrying about being hit by buses and cars. Each Sunday (and holiday), almost two million cyclists, joggers, and roller-bladers use the 70 miles of blocked off lanes along main roads. These lanes are blocked off from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. All this at 8,661 feet above sea level.


Enrique Peñalosa, who became Bogotá’s mayor 10 years ago, was one of the most influential people behind the positive changes in a city that had been one of the most dangerous in the world. He made dramatic changes with the use of urban space. One of those changes was the bicycle paths. It helped create better health and a sense of community. Not bad for a city that only a few years earlier had a murder rate of 80 per 100,000. Many residents have told me that the city is more relaxed now. Besides the bike paths, one resident told me about the clowns and mimes. Because cars were often driving through red lights and not respecting pedestrian rights, Peñalosa put clowns and mimes at all the major traffic lights in Bogotá. When someone went through a red light, the clown would make a joke about them. At first it seemed odd, but soon the attitudes of the people changed and cars began respecting the red lights and pedestrians. These positive changes have led to the current bicycling and outdoor events, known as Ciclovía.



Every Sunday morning I pull open my curtain and look at the bicyclers and roll-bladers on the street below. This morning there were more joggers than usual. They were running in the city’s 10-kilometer road race. It’s always good to see people out exercising on their one day off. This is yet another reason why there are virtually no fat people in Bogotá.


The Bogotá bicycle path system is being used as a model for cities throughout Colombia as well as big cities throughout the world, such as Chicago, New York, and Paris. Still, these wealthy international cities have a long way to go until they reach the precedent set in Bogotá.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Brett,
Loved this entry. Thanx for including the street films clips. I think I will be heading to Bogota this year. Any tips on getting a place and working as a language teacher?

Brett Garamella said...

Email me and I'll give you more information: brettgaramella@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Well it wasn't Penalosa who put Mimes and clowns on the streets it was Antanas Mockus the fomer mayor of Bogota. He seems to have strange antics yet effective. That reminds me Mockus is a presidential candidate for the 2010 elections.

Brett Garamella said...

You are right, it was Antanas Mockus who put the clowns and mimes on the streets. I was misinformed. However, Enrique Peñalosa started the ball rolling and Mockus took it to another level. There is a documentary that was recently released about how these two men changed Bogota from one of the most dangerous capitals in the world to a model city... it is called "Bogota Change."

Qing Cai said...

cheap michael kors handbags, http://www.cheapmichaelkorshandbag.in.net/
coach outlet store
lebron shoes
abercrombie and fitch
new orleans saints jerseys
new york giants jerseys
air jordan 13
coach outlet online
basketball shoes,basketball sneakers,lebron james shoes,sports shoes,kobe bryant shoes,kobe sneakers,nike basketball shoes,running shoes,mens sport shoes,nike shoes
oakley, http://www.occhialioakleyoutlets.it/
kate spade outlet
mlb jerseys
new york jets jerseys
louis vuitton handbags
air force 1 shoes
oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglassesdiscount.us.com
oakley sunglasses outlet
ghd hair straighteners, http://www.ghdhairstraightenerssale.co.uk/
oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglasseswholesale.in.net
longchamp outlet
michael kors outlet
iphone 6 cases
ralph lauren uk, http://www.ralphlauren-outletonline.co.uk/
air max 2015
cheap soccer jerseys
chicago blackhawks jersey
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
hollister shirts
mont blanc
nike free 5.0
cai2015902

mmjiaxin said...

true religion jeans
ray ban outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
dallas cowboys
rolex watches,rolex watches,swiss watches,watches for men,watches for women,omega watches,replica watches,rolex watches for sale,rolex replica,rolex watch,cartier watches,rolex submariner,fake rolex,rolex replica watches,replica rolex
oakland raiders
cheap soccer jerseys
cheap wedding dresses
karen millen uk
prada sneakers
michael kors factory store
hollister canada
air max 2014
vans shoes
christian louboutin shoes
timberland shoes
north face outlet
chicago bulls
mcm backpack
mlb jerseys
mm1106

林磊 said...

michael kors
louis vuitton pas cher
kate spade outlet
true religion outlet
michael kors outlet
omega watches
oakley outlet
basketball shoes
canada goose uk
gucci outlet
marc jacobs handbags
sac longchamp
coach factory outlet
louboutin outlet
coach outlet store online
salvatore ferragamo
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors bags
fitflops outlet
converse sale
nike blazer
hollister
hollister clothing store
canada goose jackets
versace
vans shoes
ghd hair straighteners
rolex replica watches
christian louboutin uk
louis vuitton borse
mont blanc pens
fitflops shoes
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
new balance outlet
toms outlet store
babyliss flat iron
cheap ray ban sunglasses
20163.10wengdongdong

huangqing said...

ray ban sunglasses
true religion outlet
longchamp outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet sale
oakley sunglasses
mulberry bags
coach outlet store
oakley sunglasses uk
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren polo
reebok shoes
gucci sunglasses uk
iphone case
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton bags
kobe bryants shoes
christian louboutin outlet
calvin klein underwear
louis vuitton bags
ralph lauren uk
rolex watches
celine outlet
louboutin pas cher
cheap nba jerseys
coach handbags outlet
nfl jerseys
coach outlet
ferragamo shoes
louis vuitton handbags
jordan pas cher
coach outlet online
cheap ray ban sunglasses
tiffany jewelry
16.6.8qqqqqing