Hacia Ciudades Libres de Autos (Towards Carfree Cities) X in Guadalajara, Part 2Posted by Alexis in News on October 27th, 2011 – Comments Off on Hacia Ciudades Libres de Autos (Towards Carfree Cities) X in Guadalajara, Part 2
Note: This post is the third in a series of posts about my experience at Towards Carfree Cities X in Guadalajara. The first and second are here and here. This one covers my own and other shorter talks. In upcoming posts, I’ll discuss the later keynotes and overall conference themes.
My talk, Friendly Streets for Bicycles and Streetcars?: Lessons from Portland, covered AROW’s recent work with Streetcar as well as the history of streetcar and bikes in Portland. My goal was to show that Portland’s intersection of bicycles and streetcars was unique — both became repopularized at the same time, leading to difficulty with designing shared facilities — but nevertheless had valuable lessons for all cities considering mixing the two. I was originally scheduled to present with someone advancing the idea of streetcars for Zapopan (the municipality centered northwest of Guadalajara proper), but a mixup meant that I shared time with someone else. For that reason and others, my presentation didn’t fit in as well as I’d hoped.
Of the other short presentations, I particularly enjoyed a pair on Ciclovia from Sergio Montero and Bobby Gadda. Sergio explored the spread of Ciclovia from Bogota to San Francisco and around the world through the networks of mayors, activists/planners, and experts. Mayors provide leadership, activists and planners bring information and awareness to mayors, and experts (experienced implementers) meet and exchange ideas, fueling the spread. It was informative to see the differences in the way ciclovia is done in different places.
Bobby’s presentation on CicLAvia was an excellent followup, showing the concrete details of ciclovia in LA, which is run by a citizen group. This is an interesting contrast with Portland, where the Bureau of Transportation is heavily involved with Sunday Parkways. CicLAvia is charged money to get a traffic plan for the street closures, since they are a separate entity for which city time is being used. LAPD insists on police officers at all route crossing points (no volunteers as in Portland, in part because the route uses larger streets). No parking is allowed on streets during CicLAvia. The wide streets allow a lot of room, but even so, it’s been such a huge success that the second event was suffered from overcrowding, and the number of bikes can be intimidating for people walking or using other forms of transportation — something we also struggle with here. To me it’s a sign that we are not meeting the demand for carfree streets! Open them and they will come.
Unfortunately, I changed rooms instead of staying to hear the presentation on Guadalajara’s Via Recreativa (and I also timed my visit, even more unfortunately, to miss the real thing). I also missed the presentation of Ciclovista Guadalajara, but fortunately they were selling copies and I picked one up. It’s a beautiful book showing views of Guadalajara through a bicycle mirror.
My other favorite presentation was Marco Castro’s Busroots. A combination art project and creative sustainable concept for public transportation, Busroots places plants on the roof of a bus, creating a mobile garden which can help with the heat island effect and contribute to stormwater management. It reclaims unused space and greens the city. Currently it’s just a concept bus, but I enjoyed the idea and had fun imagining how it might work in our mild and wet climate. The transit mall could become a linear garden at rush hour!