Angeles Olivas is an architect with the Planning Institute of Colima, Mexico, a Sustainable Cities International Network member. She is a recent graduate from a Bachelor’s of Architecture with a specialization in Urban Mobility. She particularly enjoys designing pleasurable spaces for people. The posting below first appeared on the IPCo blog in Spanish.
Bike lanes, as a mode of alternative mobility, are equal parts transportation and recreation. Those who use them benefit from the exercise they provide as well as avoiding the financial costs of using a car. Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain) is known in urbanist circles as an example of a modern city that has maintained its human dimension. Its politically active citizens have maintained the balance of urbanism, environmentalism and social initiatives, which is demonstrated in Sustainable Mobility Plan (Plan de Movilidad Sostenible) of the city. The plan analyzes distances and travel times for cyclists and pedestrians, and then connects various parts of the city with bike paths and pedestrians paths. The plan also shows travel times by showing imaginary spheres moving out from the centre of the city, each showing the time it would take a cyclist to travel the respected distance.
A Sustainable Mobility Plan for our city
Given that the city of Colima shares many urban characteristics with Vitoria Gasteiz – both are compact, medium cities, and have similar topographical conditions – how would the Sustainable Mobility Plan work in Colima?….How could it solve the mobility needs of the people of Colima?
By applying the method used in the Sustainable Mobility Plan to Colima we drew 4 circles from the centre at different distances: 500m, 1km, 2km, and 3km. We divided each of these spheres into 4 and applied the time-distance factor provided in the plan from Vitoria Gasteiz. We can therefore calculate the time a cyclist would take to travel a from one point to another, as shown in the following image:
Through a research project completed by the Colima Institute of Planning (IPCo), we asked different demographic groups within the defined area why they don’t used a bicycle regularly. The following graph shows the results:
Primary reasons that Colimans don’t use bicycles
As demonstrated in this graph, the main reasons mentioned can be addressed with sustainable solutions.
• Improve safety in the streets: This can be achieved by creating a safe lane specifically for cyclists. The City of Colima already has some bike lanes, though they have not been very successful because they have not been extended to created a network to connect important parts of the city. They also lack proper signage and instructions on proper use.
• People without a bicycle: The cost of a bicycle makes it much more affordable than other modes of transport. Colima could also institute a public bike share program, which has been successful in many cities around the world.
• People who have a vehicle and think the distances are too long: According to the image above the distances and times traveled are relatively short. In addition, bike travel is more fluid than vehicle traffic and Colima has excellent conditions for cycling.
A city planned with ideal conditions such as these is much more likely to attract a large number of bike lane users. Each day we come across more people who are interested in the benefits of biking in the city.
Could your city be a cyclist city?
IPCo invites our Network City members to look at cycling in their own city, and to see if their residents have similar attitudes about cycling as transportation, and what initiatives could be taken to improve conditions for cycling.