Transportation

Bogota Leading the Way for Livable Transportation

By Jason Leach
Published February 11, 2008

Here is a fabulous video highlighting Bogota's wonderfully integrated transit system:

In Hamilton we need to look at developing our A-Line (downtown to Upper James) in this manner with a possible future conversion to LRT. The B-Line (McMaster to Eastgate) should be built as an LRT immediately, as we've explained at length here at RTH.

An important point to note from Bogota is the integration of proper stations along the BRT line complete with sliding glass doors and large, modern glass structures capable of holding a large number of people.

It is also important to note the integration with cyclists. The bike parking rooms at BRT stations is an integral part of their transit system and as you'll see in the video, is actually a direct goal of the transit system ­ to get more people on bikes.

There are many worthwhile videos on this website to check out. A couple of other suggestions would be:

1. A great piece about Portland, Oregon. Yes, it is possible to plan properly and change the status quo on this continent.

2. Also, Bogota's Ciclovia (weekly closure of Bogota's main streets for a carfree cycling / skating / walking event). You must see this film. It will stun people who live in Hamilton and know what a major battle it is simply to close a one-block stretch of King William Street once a year.

There's absolutely no reason why Hamilton can't immediately begin to plan and invest in these types of projects here in our city. If a mid-sized US city can do it, and an absolutely massive and congested city in a developing nation can do it, we have no excuse.

Happy viewing!

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 11, 2008 at 08:41:28

One of the interviewees in the first video is Gil Penalosa, director of Walk & Bike for Life and a staunch advocate of both sustainable transportation and quick, effective political change.

http://walkandbikeforlife.org/

This year's Upwind Downwind Conference will feature a public lecture by Gil Penalosa:

http://www.cleanair.hamilton.ca/updown/udconf.asp http://raisethehammer.org/wots/258

When he was the Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for Bogota, Colombia, Penalosa developed a 'shoot from the hip' style of policy making, emphasizing quick action to achieve results rather than endless studies and unproductive debates over minutiae that never seem to get anywhere.

A Globe and Mail article on Penalosa from last year (no longer freely available, alas) called the style "Ready, Shoot, Aim".

Here in Hamilton, it's hard to escape the suspicion that not ever achieving any results is actually an undocumented feature of our dysfunctional planning process rather than a bug.

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By OLDCOOTE (registered) | Posted February 11, 2008 at 12:21:08

Geez...now I wanna move to Portland.

Uplifting and depressing at the same time.

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By statius (registered) | Posted February 11, 2008 at 12:29:03

I am excited that Penalosa will be speaking in Hamilton (although one worries, as per usual, that anything sensible and forward-thinking said in this city will fall on deaf ears). I first heard about him a while back from a university friend who has now moved back to Bogota (imagine that, an educated person moving back to a city which was once known only for being the murder and kidnapping capital of the world!). There seems to be a great deal of interesting and genuinely visionary urban thinking coming out of the developing world (probably born of desperation and necessity to some degree), while we here in the relatively very wealthy first-world city of Hamilton wallow in complacency and stasis, forsaking exciting opportunities to enhance our environment, and impoverishing the urban experience to the point of non-existence.

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By Elly (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2008 at 17:11:39

Hey all,
If you'd like to see Gil Penalosa speak AND experience Portland's awesomeness firsthand, as well as learning about sustainable transportation and livability issues all over the world, consider coming to the Towards Carfree Cities conference here in Portland this June 16 - 22. It's an international conference that's never been in North America till now. It's going to be fascinating and a lot of fun. Also, our city is hosting our first-ever "ciclovia" street closure (another Penalosa / Bogota innovation) the weekend following the conference. More information at carfreeportland.org -- the early (cheaper) registration deadline is February 29th, and we have a student rate available as well.

Hope to see some of you there!

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