Car Free Day in Bogotá
- Residents leave cars at home
BOGOTA - Residents of this capital hopped on their bikes or took public
transportation to work Thursday, as more than a million private motor
vehicles were being kept off the roads in observance of the city's "Car Free
The initiative, previously approved by voters in this capital of roughly 7
million, is the eighth such auto-free day in Bogotá since 2000.
Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzón used the occasion to unveil his "master mobility
plan" for Colombia's largest city, authorities said.
The project is to include a new traffic code for automobiles, which may be
forbidden to enter the city's historic downtown area, as well as a "very
strong offensive" against pollution caused by the city's public
transportation fleet. It will also promote the use of alternative means of
Public transportation produces a bigger share of the city's pollution than
do privately owned cars, said the mayor, who added that it is essential for
Bogotá to have a supply of "clean-fuel" alternatives to the diesel - which
has a high sulfur content - produced by the state-owned oil firm.
The head of Bogotá's DAMA environmental protection agency, Claudia Buitrago,
said that the capital's public and private vehicles together produce 70
percent of the city's air pollution. Industry, the construction sector and
road-building activities are blamed for the remaining 30 percent.
The Colombian capital has 312 kilometers (194 miles) of bike paths, part of
a master plan implemented a decade ago to make Bogotá a "very friendly" city
for cyclists and pedestrians. In 2001, officials also launched the
Transmilenio system of municipal streetcars.
Car-free days are also observed in more than 250 European cities. EFE