São Paulo, Brazil has already surpassed 11 million inhabitants, and the issue of urban mobility is becoming increasingly relevant. While the fleet of cars in the city is growing three times faster than the population, congestion has set new records, and quality of life has worsened. In response to such aggravating circumstances, the capital has taken a series of measures to prioritize sustainable transportation, such as the deployment of lanes dedicated for bus use, and the expansion of cycling infrastructure.
Part of the city’s efforts to support cycling is the Largo Bike, a sort of headquarters for cyclists. The site, which will begin construction next week, will have 102 parking spaces for bicycles, a BikeSampa station (a local bikeshare system), facilities for maintenance and repairs, a bathroom and a dressing room. And best of all, the center will be free to use and open 24 hours per day - as long as users register ahead of time.
In addition to encouraging more people to use bikes for urban commuting, the initiative is similar to European transportation standards - where bikes are a major method of transportation – and the Largo Bike may have an important role to play in how people in São Paulo view bicycles. In general, bikes and alternative modes of transportation are marginalized in our cities. The city lacks bike lanes, and lacks respect for other commuters beyond those who use cars. Gradually, cyclists will have their "place in the sun," showing the rest of the population how nice and healthy it is to travel by bicycle, while attracting new followers.
Maintained by Itaú Unibanco, Largo Bike is located in Largo da Batata, in Pinheiros, and is expected to open in July. It will also be an important connection point between the Faria Lima metro station and the Pinheiros River bike path. The center was made possible thanks to the collaboration of citizens, and a petition that gathered 23,000 signatures.
Currently, there are 260 kilometres of cycling infrastructure in São Paulo, including bike lanes, ciclorrotas, shared driveways, definitive lanes and leisure paths. One hundred sixty-five BikeSampa and fifteen CicloSampa stations are scattered throughout the city, which provide more than 1,700 bikes for people, according to the CET. There is also a community website that gathers all the information and routes for those who want to cycle in the city.
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Original article, originally published in Portuguese, can be found here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.