Nearly a decade after the plan was first developed, the Butantã neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil has opened a new cycle path. Separated from the road, the new path is safe, comfortable, and accessible. The path is part of the growing network of cycle lanes in São Paulo which are helping to make the city more cycle-friendly.
Selected by the city in 2006, ITDP worked with firm Ativa to develop the design for the path. Once completed, the project was transferred to the city as they looked to promote the use of bicycles as sustainable transport in São Paulo. However, due to conflicting infrastructure projects in the area and political obstacles, the project was delayed for years.
Finally, thanks in part to local cycling activists, as well as renewed support for promoting cycling and walking by São Paulo Mayor Haddad and Butantã Deputy Mayor Luiz Felipe de Moraes Neto, the project regained momentum. Last weekend, the final design elements, including proper signage, were implemented and the cycle path officially opened. “It has been a demand of the people for at least 15 years,” explained de Moraes Neto.
Helena Orenstein, President of ITDP Brazil’s advisory board, recently conducted a site visit to the bike path, along with São Paulo’s Secretariat of the Environment. They were pleased to find that bike parking next to the Butantã Metro Station was completely full. “It was very encouraging to find 108 bike parking spaces fully occupied,” in part due to the bike path being used for commutes from home, reported Orenstein.
The new path is 2.1 km and runs along Eliseu de Almeida Street between Camargo and Santo Albina. Providing better access for cyclists throughout this largely commercial area, the path is part of a planned 5km route. The next stage of the project will be extending the path to connect with the Butantã Metro Station and with Butantã’s neighboring district, Taboão de Serra.
With more than 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan region, São Paulo is far behind region’s other major cities in providing space for cyclists on the city streets. With just under 63 kilometers of bike path currently, the city lags behind Buenos Aires’s 130km, Rio de Janeiro’s 365km and Bogotá’s 359km. With ever worsening traffic and a rapidly growing population, the city government is ready to change its transit legacy. This month, the City announced a plan to build 400 km of new bike paths by 2016. As São Paulo plans its future, biking will play an increasingly important role, and the city is making progress to assure that riders have safe, comfortable paths through the city.
A version of this post is available in Portuguese.
Header photo of Butanta cycle path. Credit: Helena Orenstein, ITDP Brazil