July 27, 2011

The Cycling Revolution is Here to Stay

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Over 500 people crowded into the Roxy in Guadalajara, Mexico on July 26th to hear David Byrne and local politicians and government officials talk about the future of cycling. This was the seventh stop of the Cities, Bicycles and the Future of the Mobility Tour around Latin America organized by ITDP and David Byrne.

Hector Vielma, Municipal President of Zapopan (one of the six cities in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area) spoke in support of using funds from car drivers to support public transport, bicycling and walking facilities. The Minister of Roads from Guadalajara, Diego Monraz, told the audience that the bicycling revolution is here to stay. He was enthusiastic about learning from experiences from abroad but that he felt strongly that the city needs to create its own model for cycling mobility.

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Negro Soto, a local advocate, talked about the growing size and strength of the grassroots cycling movement in Mexico; and called on the city to commit at least 5% of the transport budget to bicycle infrastructure and other initiatives to make cycling safer and more attractive.

David Byrne amplified Soto’s remarks, noting that 5% is not so much compared to what is invested in highways and these investments are crucial to attract more people to use the bicycle.

Bernardo Baranda, ITDP Regional Director for Latin America, said of the event: “The crowd’s energy was amazing! They asked great questions to their local politicians and the politicians gave very thoughtful and encouraging answers. Between the grassroots support and the commitment of the local government, it is clear, the cycling revolution has arrived in Guadalajara, and we are optimistic it is here to stay.”

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