September 18, 2013

Building Safer Streets in Buenos Aires

Phase 1 of Buenos Aires’ “Sustainable Mobility” project is almost complete. By the end of the month, the city will be safer and more accessible for its citizens, as construction to prioritize pedestrians and improve safety measures at 36 intersections comes to a close. ITDP has advised the city on the selection, redesign, and implementation of these projects, and will continue to be involved with Phase 2, through 2015.

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With support from the World Bank, ITDP has developed a Street Design Guide for Buenos Aires. The guide proposes a comprehensive methodology to identify complex intersections, design safety and urban form improvements, and measure the implementation success. “The objective is to create a friendly, safe environment for pedestrians, while at the same time achieving more order for vehicles”. Key principles for improving the streetscape include balancing the needs of different transportation modes, reclaiming public space, making intersections simple and universally accessible, and minimizing delays.

Before and after improvements to pedestrian safety at the intersection of calles Julian Alvarez and Gascon
Before and after improvements to pedestrian safety at the intersection of calles Julian Alvarez and Gascon

 

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Intersection improvements, such as the junction of calles Juncal and Quintana, above, seek to increase pedestrian visibility and decrease crossing distances. Photos from Guía de deseno de calles e intersecciones para Buenos Aires Buenos Aires has taken major steps to remake streets and prioritize pedestrian access. Over the past 9 months, many intersections have seen speed limits reduced, bike lanes established, and pedestrian zones expanded. By painting clearer lanelines and crosswalks, Buenos Aires has made its streets safer, and by installing plants and flower beds it has made them a more pleasant place to be.

Porteños hope the improvements will increase pedestrian traffic, increase commerce for stores on these streets, and reduce traffic accidents at the intersections. In 2012, transit related accidents injured or killed 2,548 pedestrians, underscoring the importance of improving street safety.

By 2015, Buenos Aires plans to complete Phase 2 of its Sustainable Streets program, with more intersection improvements and sidewalk beautification schemes. ITDP and the World Bank will update the Street Design Guide and continue to advise and assist with these projects.

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