Armed with illuminated traffic cones and clear signage, activists in Mexico City are changing the shape of their city’s streets. Mexico City, like many cities around the world, has lost its walkable scale. Long distances and fast traffic have made walking less attractive, and streetscapes have been built to move cars, not people. To fix this, city officials and activists alike are making efforts to reshape the way roads throughout the city prioritize people walking.
Change has started at the city level, with Mexico City’s passage in July 2014 of a new Mobility Law, which committed to the right of every person and the community to have an adequate and accessible comprehensive system of quality mobility. The Law recognizes the central role of pedestrians in creating vibrant public spaces. From this movement, the city has seen new interventions and street redesigns in areas with a strong pedestrian presence, including several major avenues.
As a next step, ITDP Mexico is launching a new campaign to improve pedestrian environments and allow more people to walk safely, efficiently, and comfortably. The project, #CAMINA, (#Walk, in English), uses tactical urbanism to create temporary street interventions that prove the ease and benefits of prioritizing walking. Working with local officials and local activists, the campaign will show Mexico City what it’s like to live in a city where the pedestrian is king.
For #CAMINA’s first act, the group staged an intervention using illuminated traffic cones to redistribute public space on streets more equitably. By creating quick, temporary change on a busy downtown street, the campaign sent the message that creating streets with space for people walking is easy, and it’s right.
The intervention blocked off more space for people on foot at intersections, created cycle lanes, and added clear signage, with messages including “walking safely and comfortably is your right”. The intervention allowed residents to see how the behavior of those walking, cycling and driving changed when the infrastructure truly favored people walking and biking. The project was launched during Visual Arts Week in Mexico City.
These interventions project a vision of the city. The changes to the street, though temporary, illustrate the importance of walking, and allow others to see how public space can be used when the design was shaped at a human scale. Join the conversation on Twitter using #Camina, and see more photos from the intervention below and on Flickr.