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Posts from the Guadalajara Category

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Fed Up With(out) Bike Infrastructure in Guadalajara

Some citizens in Guadalajara, Mexico have taken direct action to make positive physical changes on their streets. As part of a movement known as “Ciclovía Ciudadana”, or Citizen Cycleway, activists planned the designs and procured the equipment themselves to implement the necessary bicycle infrastructure they felt couldn’t wait longer.

Complete with well-marked bike lanes, intersection markings, signage, and even bike boxes, Guadalajarans may have one more accessible route to enjoy by bike without having to rely on unresponsive government officials.

Unfortunately, it’s just one front in a larger fight to keep their city sustainable and safe from motor traffic, much like the Freeway Revolt fought decades ago in our own city.

The video still hits close to home in San Francisco today, where a certain vital bike route has had its fair share of guerrilla activity and protests, reflective of the high demand constrained by dangerous conditions caused by poor design and motor vehicle traffic.


New Freeway Revolt Grips Guadalajara

Definitely No to the Freeway! (La Via Express)

Definitely No to the Freeway! (La Via Express)

While the world has gathered in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss again a shared approach to Climate Chaos, action is already being taken in countless communities. On a visit last week to Guadalajara, Mexico, more than a thousand miles west of the Climate Meeting, I had the pleasure of discovering a vibrant grassroots movement to block the construction of a new 23-kilometer elevated freeway through the heart of the city. Interestingly, this movement leans primarily on people who live along the proposed route of the freeway, but found crucial support and activism from Ciudad Para Todos (City For All), a three-year-old group of bicycle and transit activists who are Guadalajara’s most vocal opponents to the reign of the car.

This is the current situation along much of the line. Train tracks down the middle. High tension electric lines on the right, underground gas and oil pipelines under the left.

This is the current situation along much of the line. Train tracks down the middle. High tension electric lines on the right, underground gas and oil pipelines under the left.

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A Cycling Congress in Mexico

tambien_soy_trafico_2129.jpgRespect me: I am also traffic!

Guadalajara, Mexico was host this month to the 2nd annual Congress of Cyclists in Mexico, a national gathering of bicyclist activists from around the country. I was invited to give a speech, which I somehow managed to do in Spanish (thanks to my media naranja for translating and coaching me!), detailing the history of cycling and Critical Mass in particular. I loved being at the Congress, meeting people from all over Mexico, a few old and new friends from the U.S., and one remarkable woman from Quito, Ecuador.

The city of Guadalajara is an ironic place for this conference. It is a town overrun with SUVs, streets jammed with cars, 6-lane, one-way boulevards, sprawling suburbs in five other municipalities making a metro area of 6 million or so. In spite of its obvious car-centrism, Guadalajara has a number of beautiful public plazas, several pedestrian-only zones closed to cars, both in its downtown and in a gentrified artsy-touristy neighborhood some distance from the city center. They've even installed a real European-style bike lane (or ciclovia as they're generally known in Spanish) on one of its major thoroughfares, with plans to extend a network of such lanes in several directions.