January 22, 2010

Building a More Bike-Friendly Rio for the Olympics

By Jonas Hagen

Rio de Janeiro will host the summer Olympics in 2016, and if the city uses this opportunity, sports fans from around the world will be able to get around the city using one of the most efficient, sustainable, and people-friendly transport modes: the bicycle.

To help show that there is already a huge demand for more first-class bike facilities in Rio de Janeiro, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) initiated its second cyclist count in Copacabana, Brazil’s most famous neighborhood. Carried out in partnership with the Brazilian NGO Transporte Ativo, the count registered 1,420 cyclists crossing Figueiredo de Magalhães Street and Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Street.

According to the latest official data available (from 2002), there are only 1,588 cyclists daily in the entire neighborhood of Copacabana. This number shows only 168 more cyclists than the study showed passed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on one corner of the neighborhood, suggesting that there are many more cyclists in Copacabana today.

Figueiredo de Magalhães Street is slated to receive some kind of infrastructure for cycling to connect a metro and public bike station to the seaside bike path, and these large amounts of cyclsits bolster the argument for a robust intervention.

Together with Rio municipal government, Transporte Ativo and Dutch NGO I-ce, ITDP helped carry out a workshop to plan cycling facilities that will be implemented to foster the public bike system in the neighborhood of Tijuca on December 2 and 3, 2009.

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