Guerrilla Urban Planners Redo Mexico City By Painting Bike Lanes, Sidewalks, And Crosswalks

This Big City talks to Camina, Haz Ciudad, a group which extralegally redesigns public space to benefit ordinary residents:

Camina, Haz Ciudad started as a project to recover space for pedestrians. It was inspired by a modern development that happened here in Mexico City in an area called El Puente de los Poetas. Amazingly, there was no pedestrian infrastructure at all, the whole place seemed to be designed for cars. A group of citizens decided that couldn’t be, so they painted a sidewalk in an area where lots of people walked but had no safety. But the sidewalk was erased, and the people who painted it were really mad.

With our first painted bike lane [which is 5km and ends at Congress in Mexico City] we were trying to make a political point. We didn’t have any expectation of how long it would last. But the bike lane is still in place. With the sidewalk – the very first project – local people were unsure because they didn’t know who did it. But now the collective is growing and, I hate to use the word powerful, but now we’re getting quite noisy and people are beginning to realise that we are quite a large group of people who can make real change.

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  • BuzzCoastin

    When I first moved to Beijing, I was impressed by the fact that every street had bike lanes, but in 4 years the bike lanes have shrunk and cars tend to use them when they can. The only people ridding bikes now are the poor and a few “green” foreigners. The only good time to travel through the city by car or public transport is between noon and 4pm and 9pm and 6am.

    Now that’s progress!

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