by Chris Van Eyken
On May 16th and 17th, the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, hosted a delegation from San Francisco on a study tour to Mexico City. This included three members of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors: John Avalos, Scott Weiner, and Eric Mar. The seventeen person delegation also included San Francisco government employees, representatives of local non-profits, and a journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle. The purpose of the trip was to show Mexico City’s sustainable transport projects, specifically, the Metrobús bus rapid transit (BRT) system and the Ecobici bicycle share system.
The group met with David Escalante, Planning Subdirector for Metrobús. He provided details on the continued expansion Metrobús while informing them of the successes and challenges throughout the planning, construction, and operation of the system. San Francisco representatives presented their plans for corridors on Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard and the Metrobús staff provideed feedback. Afterwards, the delegation toured Metrobus Lines 1, 2, and 3, and was impressed by how quickly the buses traveled through the corridors and how often buses arrived.
The delegation met with Tanya Muller, the Minister of Environment, Rufino León Tovar, the Minister of Transport and Roads. The ministers discussed their work to improve sustainable transport options in Mexico City while discouraging the use of the automobile. San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Chair John Avalos expressed a desire to foster cooperation between the two cities and presented the ministers with gifts.
On the second day, the group met with Iván de la Lanza, Mexico City’s Environment Secretariat’s Director of Bicycle Mobility Strategy. He presented on the Mexico City’s Ecobici bicycle share system and Mexico City’s overall bicycle mobility strategy. Afterwards, Iván led the delegation on a bike ride along the Paseo de la Reforma’s bicycle lane via Ecobici. The delegation concluded their visit with a tour of Calle Madero, a pedestrianized street near the Zocalo. Eduardo Aguilar, General Director of Mexico City’s Public Space Authority, gave remarks and Enrique Lastra led the tour. Enrique Lastra discussed how the conversion of the street and other adjacent to it had created additional public space in the historic city center.