By Álvaro Contente, Chile Correspondent at Pedestrian Space
Today I would like to write about what I consider the best bike path of Santiago, Chile: the CicloRecreoVía. It isn’t actually a bike path, but a network of streets closed to motorized traffic on Sunday mornings which then transforms into pure education, recreation, and empowerment of the people in their public space. To see families fully enjoying this space, it is clear that they wouldn’t be able to learn to ride in a safer, more comfortable environment and this is a result of great public policy. If there is to be a bright future for Santiago, it surely will come hand in hand with the CiclorecreoVía.
I have to confess that I discovered this activity not so long ago. Being a night owl, waking up that early in the morning has always been a difficult enterprise. But every time that I go to the CicloRecreoVía my perception of the city changes: it makes me love Santiago more. I say that as someone who uses his bike as a means of transport 95% of the time. The effect of motorized vehicles on the streets is so pervasive that you only realize how impactful it is once you get rid of them completely. I believe every means of transport has its time and place, but it’s crucial to experience something different for a change, even if it is one morning every week.
I believe that children who fill these streets in their skates, with their bikes, scooters, etc. will be promoters of a revolution that is necessary for this and all cities. The revolution of giving back the city to the people. Back to the pedestrian, the cyclist, the people who use transit, and also to the people that choose a car as their means of transport, but who understand the consequences their decisions have over others.
I invite everyone who doesn’t know about this activity to fight the laziness of Sunday mornings and join the CicloRecreoVía. You will experience a more human, cozy, and slower city. It is also available in cities all over Latin America: like Lima, Bogotá, Ciudad de México, Rosario and Quito. You can thank me later.
Álvaro is an engineer, Master of Public Administration, avid walker, and biker. He spends a great part of his free time wandering around Santiago de Chile’s streets. He’s passionate about the intersection between policy, urbanism, sustainability, and innovation.
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