Spring 2002, p.18

Auto-Free World

Bogota Celebrates Third Annual Car-Free Day
Millions of Colombians biked, walked, skated or took the bus to work during Bogota's third annual Day Without Cars. Cyclists and people on inline skates wove through the streets of the capital city that were eerily devoid of traffic jams. "I thought I was at Venice Beach or something," said an American oil executive, who is normally chauffeured to work with a bodyguard, but who chose to walk that day. For the first time, two other Colombian cities, Cali and Valledupar, joined the event, which is designed to promote alternative transportation and reduce smog.
-Associated Press
[Editor's Note: Car-Free Day was started by T.A. friend and former-mayor, Enrique Penalosa]

Bike Lane Opens Near Mexico Border
Authorities will open a lane for bicycles at a U.S.-Mexico border crossing at San Diego, steering them away from a vehicle lane they have shared with buses, a U.S. immigration official said Friday. The change takes effect Monday, when U.S. authorities will close an informal bike lane in the vehicle section that became popular after post-Sept. 11 security measures began causing long delays. Cyclists will have to walk their bikes, but they won't have to wait behind pedestrians at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the world's busiest border crossing. The creation of a dedicated bicycle lane is an interim step while federal and state authorities discuss ways to open a permanent one, said Adele Fasano, director of the San Diego district of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Cyclists have always been allowed to use the San Diego crossing but relatively few did until the stricter security measures created delays of two hours or more for motorists and pedestrians. Cyclists found they could cross in minutes.
-Associated Press

Web Site Ranks U.S. Cities for Car-Dependence
The alternative transport company Bikes At Work has ranked the nation's major metro areas in terms of car-free commuting behavior. Based on 1990 Census data, the city with the highest percentage of cyclists is Davis, Ca., where more than one in five workers commutes by bike. The most car-free city is Hoboken, N.J., where 70 percent of residents do not own a car. Nearly 70 percent of New York City commuters travel by public transit, putting us atop the list of communities with the highest transit use. Bikes at Work plans to compile the data from the 2000 census when it becomes available this summer or fall. Visit

A Fate Worse Than Death
A State of Virginia Web site outlining the legal woes that await those who drink and drive is chillingly titled "The Path to Becoming a Pedestrian." In Virginia, drunk drivers reach this nadir after the third offense, at which point the Web site warns, "Unless you're being represented by a brilliant atteroney [sic], you are going to be a pedestrian." (No word on whether the governor may grant clemency.)

British Public Supports Traffic Calming
A recent British government survey found that two-thirds of people think that pedestrians and cyclists should be given priority in towns and cities, even if this makes things difficult for other road users. Only 1 in 7 disagree. Half of respondents could identify issues that would encourage them to cycle more. The factors most likely to promote more cycling are better/safer and more cycle routes, better facilities for parking bicycles and more considerate driver attitudes. Support for traffic calming measures in residential areas ran 68% in favor and 19% against.
-CarFree Times

Subway & Bus Use Highest in Decades
The popularity of MetroCard fare deals and further decreases in subway crime last year helped push ridership to the highest level in almost a half-century. Buses also were packed, with ridership at a near 30-year high. The gains were made despite commuter skittishness after September 11 and a weaker economy that pushed up city unemployment rates. Subways carried 1.4 billion paying passengers last year, the most since 1953 and 39% more than in 1980, when ridership barely topped 1 billion.
Transit officials also said newer trains, fewer breakdowns and fewer fare-beaters have pumped up ridership.
-Daily News

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