March 01, 2003

Cycleways Are No Longer Just a Dream for Quito

On Feburary 13 and 14, a seminar focused on cycleways as a viable transportation alternative in Quito was held for the first time. This event responds to a feeling of restlessness and frustration about the unsustainable situation of transportation in the city, to the lack of urban spaces for cyclists and to the need for necessary commitments from local authorities and civil organizations to be able to implement cycleways in Quito.

The first day consisted of a series of roundtables and conferences brought to the highest level by the presence of people as well known as Dr. Ricardo Montezuma, the young urbanist convinced of the benefits of Bogotá‘s cycleways, and Dr. Walter Hook, director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy of New York and expert in topics of human mobility. Nearly fifty people from the Municipality of Quito and civil society participated, offering interesting proposals and suggestions, including the following:

  • Unite the cycleways from the north and south with Quito’s Historic Center
  • Outfit bus stations, commercial centers, universities and other public places with bicycle parking
  • Implement Car-Free Sundays, closing designated streets to car traffic, and build permanent bicycle routes

The interest and enthusiasm of seminar attendees and the contribution of knowledge and experience from the presenters led to the formation of a Management Committee made up of NGO representatives and Quito officials, which will execute the goals established at the seminar.

This committee is dedicated to taking ahead some of the proposals offered, including the celebration of the Health Month in April. On the 13th of this month, the city will witness a large Car-Free corridor that will unite the North with the South in an extension of approximately 14 kilometers available for cyclists, pedestrians and all people who wish to take a walk, to play, and to experience the city in a new way.

The commitment from Quito’s authorities to move forward with cycleway projects is wonderful news for the local cycling community, which has worked for six years to gain safe and attractive routes. With the cycleways in place, Quito will once again become a more human and proud city for all.

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