What does Galán’s plan propose for Bogotá’s mobility and why is there controversy among experts?

What does Galán’s plan propose for Bogotá’s mobility and why is there controversy among experts?
What does Galán’s plan propose for Bogotá’s mobility and why is there controversy among experts?

Thanks to several megaprojects that are in process such as the first metro line and the TransMilenio trunks on 68th Avenue and the City of Cali, the mobility sector has been a priority for the last administrations, and that of Carlos Fernando Galán is no exception, since this year it is the sector that will have the largest budget (7.4 billion pesos).

(Also read: Another important TransMilenio station will stop operating soon due to the Bogotá metro works: which one is it?).

However, the opinions regarding the goals that were raised in the Development Plan ‘Bogotá Walk Safely 2024-2028’ Regarding mobility, they have had divided opinions among experts.

While some affirm that the plan responds to the daily challenges that the city has in terms of infrastructure, accidents and micromobility, others say that it has “unambitious” goals and lacks innovative ideas.

Mobility appears specifically in two objectives. The first is related to the safety and coexistence of users both on the different roads and in TransMilenio. The second, with the large megaprojects that are being carried out and the increase in the capacity of the Integrated Public Transport System (SITP).

Safe and inclusive mobility

The first component in which the Mobility Secretariat and the TransMilenio company appear is related to articulation with the entities in charge of security, since it is an important factor for citizens when choosing which means of transportation to useand is essential to encourage Bogota residents to use more sustainable means.

The aim is to reduce the percentage of TransMilenio fare evasion from 15 to 13 percent.

Photo:Sergio Acero Yate/ El Tiempo

The plan highlights, for example, that in 2023, 39.8 percent of people who reported using TransMilenio and 37.6 percent of the SITP stated that they were dissatisfied with the means of transportation. The main reasons were theft (58%), congestion (49%) and travel delays (30%).

On the other hand, compared to bicycles, in 2023, 7,162 reports of theft were reported, 8.2 percent of the total thefts reported. Regarding trips on foot, the main difficulty is found in the conditions of the infrastructure and the inadequate use of spaces for mobility.

Thus, with an inter-institutional plan and proposing control and prevention strategies, It is expected that more people will begin to move in sustainable ways (public transportation, on foot or bicycle) in Bogotá and the regiongoing from 10,195,243 daily trips in 2023 to 10,800,000 in 2028.

It also seeks to reduce the percentage of TransMilenio fare evasion, from 15 to 13 percent.

Regarding road safety, a growing trend has been evident that reached 542 fatalities in 2023, users who generally traveled by the most vulnerable means of transport such as motorcycles, on foot or by bicycle.

Increasing control on the roads, traffic lights and video surveillance, The aim is to reduce deaths by 15 percent (that is, go from 542 in 2023 to 461 in 2028).

The big projects

The second program in which mobility is the protagonist has to do with increasing sustainable modes and reducing trips by private vehicle, taking into account that the city has more than a million automobiles and, between 2011 and 2023, the times in Motorized modes increased significantly, especially by car, which went from 43 to 51 minutes (16% increase).

In that sense, andThe District is committed within the four-year period to achieving 100 percent of the pre-operational stage of the first metro line.

Bogota. May 6, 2024. Since May 4, the TransMilenio station on Calle 26 stopped operating, to begin the dismantling and adaptation of roads for the construction of the viaduct of the First Line of the Bogotá metro. Photo: Sergio Acero Yate / El Tiempo.

Photo:Sergio Acero Yate/ El Tiempo

Likewise, it is proposed to achieve 20 percent progress in the second line and achieve 90 percent of the activities and procedures required for the designs and studies of the third, so that in 2028 the process will have been opened. of selection of the consortium in charge of the work.

Other objectives are to reach 143 kilometers of TransMilenio trunk lines in operation (that is, 29 new kilometers), advance the North Regiotram project by 5 percent and manage 100 percent of the urban insertion of the West Regiotram.

It should be noted that, to help finance public transportation, which currently has a deficit of 3 billion pesos, it is proposed to increase the parking rate by 17 percent.

Divided opinions

Now, for José Stalin Rojas, director of the mobility laboratory at the National University, these goals are the continuity of what was proposed since Enrique Peñalosa’s mayoralty or “even before.”

One more trunk is going to be built in TransMilenio, they are going to make an effort to finish the first metro line, but there is no new or innovative component

“The current Secretary of Mobility, Claudia Díaz, was director of road safety in Peñalosa and the director of TransMilenio has been working since Claudia López (…) one more trunk is going to be built in TransMilenio, they are going to make an effort to finish the first subway line, but there is no new or innovative component”Rojas indicated.

For his part, Ómar Oróstegui, director of the Government laboratory of the University of La Sabana, stated that the plan “mentions that new projects will be managed, but does not specify actions for the Regiotram or for the Séptima race corridor, in where future actions are not clear” regarding the Green Corridor.

He added that “although there are bets to reduce road accidents, it is recommended to establish them by road actor and not by general average.”

“It is important to mention that neither of the two documents (program and plan) include actions against the phenomenon of pedicabs.mobility platforms and homes, and the increase in the fleet of motorcycles and road accidents associated with said actor,” Oróstegui added.

According to Oróstegui, actions against the phenomenon of pedicabs are not included.

Photo:Archive. TIME

On the other hand, Darío Hidalgo, mobility expert and professor at the Javeriana University, believes that “it is an ambitious plan” and “the challenge is immense” in terms of management.

“Some may say that innovative things are missing, but the challenge of everyday life, which in the past was left aside by the desire to start new megaprojects, is, perhaps, the greatest value of this proposal that builds and improves on what has been built” , he indicated.

Councilor Juan David Quintero, for his part, said that it is very important to advance the project to extend the first subway line to 100th Street, something that is in the Development Plan document, but that, according to the lobbyist, It was not contemplated in the presentations that the District has made before the Council.

“Usaquén and Suba are today isolated from the rest of Bogotá. With the extension of the first subway line to 100th Street we will connect them with the south and center of the city to finally get out of the eternal traffic jam in which they have us,” he said.

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