Walking the Walk in Bogota

 

Although the number of pedestrian trips made daily in Bogotá is high (3,090,809), we observe that there has been little study of the state of these road users in the city; a state defined on occasion by unsafe streets, the invasion of public space, and a poor and deteriorating pedestrian infrastructure, as well as by, among others, the intervention of various public spheres and the improvement of parks and plazas.

This document has resulted from an investigation process, consultation of various sources, and a critical, informative and constructive analysis on the part of its authors and collaborators. The aim is to develop an in-depth analysis that offers both layman and professional audiences profound insights into the difficulties, opportunities, and challenges of pedestrian mobility in the city, as well as generating a number of proposals in order to contribute to public policy that prioritizes pedestrian well-being.

Executive Summary continues:

After revising the theory of how pedestrian spaces should be developed and how this can be connected to sustainable transport policy, this document describes existing national- and district-level policy and regulation and the evolution of pedestrian policy in successive municipal administrations.

Here, it is clear that over the past twenty years, a certain level of interest for pedestrians has not proven sufficiently substantial or persistent to generate durable change. Furthermore, we present examples of different types of pedestrian infrastructure development, as well as a description of citywide infrastructure construction and maintenance investment. Surprisingly, while one in every four walks, only 1% of the city  budget is designated to pedestrian infrastructure. Additionally, we find that *bogotanos* enjoy only 4,41 square metres of public space per person (while the United Nations recommends 15 square metres).

We continue by describing the demographic statistics and modal distribution of those who walk as a means of transport (for instance, we find that only two of 100 pedestrian trips made by children are made by those who live in neighbourhoods in *estrato* 5 and 6, while 95% are made by those living in *estratos* 1, 2 and 3), as well as how safe it is to walk in the city, where we find that street robberies in 2016 neared the 30,000 mark. These discussions are completed by a review of perceptions of the everyday activity of walking, where we find that the main motivations for moving oneself by foot are vehicular congestion and the desire for exercise.

The document concludes with a preliminary assessment of the distinct societal benefits of pedestrian mobility, including the reduction of emissions and various socioeconomic benefits, and presents proposals to further improve conditions for these citizens, such as the implementation of pedestrian policy, its financing, standards for ”complete streets”, and promoting stronger citizen participation on behalf of pedestrians.

   * Full document in Spanish at http://www.despacio.org/portfolio_page/caminar-en-bogota-las-cuentas-2017/

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About the author:

Environmental engineer and economist, graduate of Universidad de los Andes, specializing in environmental issues, data management and analysis, and information collection and processing. She supports Despacio’s research projects on city and climate topics, by writing reports and producing tables, graphs and maps. In preparation for this work, she also coordinates the collection, processing and analysis of data and other indicators, including fieldwork.  In this regard, she played a central role in the following projects: Urban Hackathon, the Urban Mobility Observatory, “Bicycle Infrastructure Guide for Colombian Cities,” and the development of a strategic plan to promote cycling in Cartagena, among others. She was also lead author on “The Challenge of Paris for Transport” and co-author of “Analysis of the Intervention along Carrera 11”, two of Despacio’s self-published reports from 2016.

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About Despacio

 Despacio is a research center that has existed since 2008 and was legally constituted as a non-profit organization in Colombia in 2011. Its objective is to promote quality of life in cities and during all stages of the life cycle through applied research, with an emphasis on challenging the intuitive. Its philosophy is similar to that of the Slow Movement and seeks to improve the well-being of communities and individuals from the most individual and familiar aspects (eating, transporting, raising children, organizing at home and at work) to the most collective (planning and managing Human and sustainable cities). We have a multidisciplinary team that seeks to improve the well-being of communities and people at all stages of the life cycle, managing slow, humane, friendly and sustainable cities.
“Our commitment is to the city, the environment, life. “We enjoy the city at the right pace and pace. Let’s go slowly and without haste. “
Their extensive website at http://www.despacio.org/ introduces their capacities and work in Spanish, with significant portions also available in English. To get a feeling for their approach, here’s an extract concerning their approach to climate change policies, actions, proposals and projects:

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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