Road actors analyze what should be done with the bike paths of Bucaramanga

Ahe time that the Bucaramanga Mayor’s Office projects the construction of another 15 kilometers of bike paths, municipal officials are also analyzing how to respond to the adjustments requested by the courts in three corridors of the current bike infrastructure, where according to experts there are various conflicts in terms of mobility .

Disadvantages for the passage of emergency vehicles due to the space that was reduced in vehicular lanes, critical crossroads with deficiencies in signaling and effects on loading and unloading of goods are some of the problems detected in the construction and fitting out of exclusive spaces for cyclists in the Santander capital.

Also read: What went wrong in the bike paths of Bucaramanga?

International standards, experts and local authorities insist that the future of mobility lies in the implementation of alternative and environmentally sustainable means of transport, such as the bicycle. In fact, many people from Bumangues agree on the expression “bike paths, yes, but not like that”.

What is missing then to optimize the operation of the cycling infrastructure in the ‘Ciudad Bonita’? Vanguardia compiled the opinions of various key players in the matter.

We suggest: Why are pedestrians in Bucaramanga less and less respected?

While the most radical citizens are calling for the clearing and elimination of the 20 kilometers of bike paths, in which more than $15,000 million were invested, another sector of the citizenry points out that more attention and efforts are needed on the part of the authorities regarding control and road culture, planning and ordering of the territory, promotion of alternative media, among other tasks.

Experts warn that it is important that the Local Government take these guidelines into account, especially with regard to the design and construction of the 15 new kilometers of bike path that were promised through the Bucaramanga Development Plan 2020-2023.

Since last May, the Municipality has set up working groups in order to start the preliminary designs of this new cycle infrastructure. According to initial calculations, more than $10,000 million are needed for the execution of this project.

We tried to obtain more details about the progress of this initiative, but the Secretary of Infrastructure of the Bucaramanga Mayor’s Office did not issue a statement until the closing of this edition.

However, this newsroom learned that several leaders and expert professionals in the field of mobility and alternative means have been consulted by officials of the Municipality regarding the new bike path project.

The Mayor of Bucaramanga, Juan Carlos Cárdenas, indicated last Thursday that, unlike the administration of Rodolfo Hernández, the current government will not impose the routes of the bike paths and that such determinations will be agreed with the people of Bumanga.

‘It is progressing on the right track’

Diego Moreno, director of the Ciclaramanga Corporation: “The bicycle routes were made based on regulations endorsed by the Ministry of Transportation, in this case the Bicycle Infrastructure Guide for Colombian Cities. It was designed with the support of organizations such as UN-Habitat. As a cyclist, I think that the cycle paths were well done, since they were direct, along main roads and well segregated. What remains is to complement this network so that it connects more points in the metropolitan area”.

This activist added that “the authorities have not done much to promote and encourage the proper use of bike paths either. Messages on social networks and cycle rides do not represent enough promotion, more resources must be invested”.

Daniel Pico, bike path user: “What is missing is forceful control by the authorities. Every day we see the bike paths invaded with parked cars and even passing through them. I’ve already been hit three times, on two occasions the drivers ‘blew up’ and didn’t even help me, and the last time the community helped me hold the offender to answer. A good idea is the installation of cameras to fine those who invade the lanes of cyclists. Because, for example, I have already presented numerous evidences and complaints to Transit to see what solutions there are, but to date the problem is the same.

Carlos Parra, councilor of Bucaramanga: “there is a lack of gradualness, that the process of implementing bike paths is not overnight. Nor can we make an investment in infrastructure, without investing in promotion. For example, $15 billion was invested in infrastructure, but less than $50 million was invested in promoting the use of bicycles”.

‘A difficult system to implement’

Aquiles Torres, engineer specializing in roads and transportation: “I wonder how many people who live in Floridablanca or the north of the city, in the east and west use bike paths. Bucaramanga’s topography makes this transportation system very difficult to implement. Today, these spaces necessary for faster movement are used by street vendors, motorcyclists and pedestrians. It would be worth dismantling the bike paths or transferring them to other roads”.

This expert questions approaches related to the adequacy of cycle paths or exclusive lanes for cyclists in primary corridors of the Santander capital. For Torres, it is about “outrageous things, such as allowing cyclists to use Carrera 27, exposing their lives and occupying a lane for their movement.”

Juan Manuel Álvarez, lawyer specializing in urban law and land use planning: “Cycling routes must be planned with a projection into the future, and with their own regulations, they cannot depend solely on the provisions established in the POT (Land Use Plan) . This planning must be done with the metropolitan area in mind, and also thinking about how it will connect with the north of Bucaramanga, as well as with the Metrolínea.

Road actors analyze what should be done with the bike paths of Bucaramanga