Urban cycleways in Latin America

We have been working for the past few months with a group of citizens, businesses and community activists from Mexico and Colombia who are focused on developing and promoting cycling and cycling infrastructure in their respective cities.

Supporting communities to unleash the latent potential of urban cycling

In November 2020, in collaboration with Luis Buezo de Manzanedo, associate consultant of the International Urban Development Association and Elisa de Simone, community architect & urbanist, VicinoMX, we led a full-day online masterclass on a range of aspects relating to cycling and cycling infrastructure including ‘ciclovias‘ (urban cycle paths & lanes). Topics included in the masterclass included:

  • design of cycling infrastructure, both permanent and temporary ‘pop-up’
  • its role in placemaking, transport-orientated design (TOD) and connected cities
  • community engagement and gaining wider support for cycling
  • the importance of ‘cycling champions’ and how to get political support
  • delivery, constriction and financing of cycling projects
  • the importance of measuring impact and how to design efficient & transport monitoring frameworks

The masterclass also looked at the opportunities that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has provided to improve urban cycling & cycling facilities.

extracts from the all-day Ciclovias Masterclass in November 2020

Case studies from a range of countries & continents were used to provide examples of common design & placemaking errors; good strategic planning and integration into wider city transport networks; common challenges and how they can be overcome; and timescales to develop different types of projects.

Urban cycleway, Manchester, UK

Since then we’ve convened regular themed sessions online with members of the Ciclovias Masterclass. These sessions enable members to discuss in detail their respective progress in developing cycling infrastructure in their cities, and the challenges they are facing – with the intention to try to collaboratively develop solutions in a form of peer-to-peer mentoring. Guest speakers have been invited to share their experiences from cities such as Montreal.

ciclovia in Curitiba, Brazil

After the first few sessions it became clear that one shared challenge for all participants was promote and gain support for plans for future ciclovia projects. As a result we have developed a concise methodological guide, with 6 key steps to aide anyone who is interested in campaigning to improve cycling and cycling infrastructure in town and cities of any size.

snapshot of the Ciclovias Development Guide

Over the next few months we will be working with the Ciclovias Masterclass members to put this guide into practice, and mentor them in developing their own strategies & plans for each of their respective cities. Venceremos!