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Ciclovia, Bogota, Colombia


Ciclovia, Bogota, Colombia

Feel free to use this image, but please credit me. Thanks!

Taken on la carrera septima in Bogota, near Chapinero (one my favourite streets in the city).

Bogota has done this great thing since the 1970s – on Sunday & holiday mornings, till about 1:30 they block off 1/2 of major roads to vehicular traffic and open them up to residents for biking, jogging, strolling, roller-blading etc. The routes total about 120 kms and also link major city parks. During Ciclovia hours the city runs free exercise classes at the parks along the route, called Recreovia.

Although it is called "ciclovia" it is actually much more than just bikes. Note that Ciclovia, the weekly event, is not to be confused with Ciclo-rutas, which are Bogota’s 340 km+ off-road cycle path network (very sustainable – although bike commuter bike culture has been slow to catch on – they sit at about 4% of the mode share – similar to the City of Portland, Vancouver and Greater Victoria, but paltry compared to European cities).

It is a wonderful and inspiring community event where everyone can be seen. Many people regard it as a green transportation event, however in my opinion due to the enormous social factor and diverse range in activities it is by and large a community-building/healthy-activity thing, rather than a commuter-bike thing.

Flickr member Monica has a great and inspiring little video clip shared here:…

Although this is a great idea, officials in many North American cities initially dismissed it purely on the grounds of contextual differences between Colombia and elsewhere. Fortunately, there were a few who saw the potential and tried it out. Among these are New York City, Portland Oregon, and Ottawa, Ontario. With this the concept has finally won acceptance and is slowly being introduced in other cities. IMHO Ciclovia and the events it has inspired across the globe serve to beautifully illustrate that despite our differences, people are people, and a good idea can be adapted to all sorts of places regardless of where it comes from.

The University of the Andes in Bogota has put together a great manual (in English) for cities and groups who are interested in trying out their own version of Ciclovia/Open Streets/Sunday Parkways:

In this picture you can also see some of the British architecture that is common around the city. The standard explanation is that since Bogota has a temperate overcast climate similar to the UK it was thought the style would do well there.

I think it has – these are very street-oriented buildings. The contrast is made all the more vivid when one considers the almost Le-Corbusian highrise complexes that sprawl west along giant freeway-like arterials from the Bogota’s original N-S spine next to the mountains. I didn’t realise that the block highrises existed in Canada until driving around parts of Toronto, where the same style of buildings are undergoing significant rehabilitation as part of a municipal program.

Posted by adrimcm on 2008-07-24 01:29:00

Tagged: , Ciclovia , Bogota , Sustainable , Cycling , Cyclovia , Colombia , Sunday Streets , Sunday Parkways , Community Building , Active Community , Recreation , Exercise , Ciclovia Bogota , Cyclovia Bogota , Healthy Community , Urban Health , Urban , Bikes , Parkways , Car Free Sundays , Car Free Sunday , Jogging , Rollerblading , Bogotá , La Ciclovia

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