Friday, December 7, 2012

The new BIG bicycle infrastructure in Barcelona

The current Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias from (now pro-independence) CiU federation, won the elections in 2011 after a period of more than 30 years of (unionist) PSC government, generally in coalition with other left parties (pro-independence ERC and eco-unionist ICV). CiU recently won the Catalan National elections. CiU is a mixture of liberals, social and Cristian democrats and conservative people, although the voters of CiU define themselves according to last polls as centre-left pro-Catalonia independence people. In general, CiU supports car and motorbike culture.

Well, the question is that CiU has been analizing the bike situation all this time. And now it's starting to make infrastructure. Last week the City Council presented its first BIG actions in the 3rd most bike friendly city of the World according to the Copenhaguenize Index.

The first BIG action was to paint bicycle pictograms in Zone 30 areas (original in Catalan, Google Translate):

It's not a joke. I saw them a couple of days before the official statement.

Second, 3 new bike paths, with a astonishing width of 50 cm for each direction (original in Catalan, Google Translate), at least in the Ramon Turró bidirectional lane:


Currently in works. My Brompton Bag has a width of 44 cm; its handlebar is wider, and Brompton handlebar is narrow in comparison to standard bikes.

Indeed, CiU administration shows to ignore the bicycle reality of the city. For example, it said:

The third lane will be implemented in Ramon Turró Street. It will connect the bike lanes of Àlaba Street and Wellington Street.

Well, Ramon Turró Street used to have a bike lane several years ago. Now the City Council is completing it so that it reaches Wellington Street, where there wasn't any bike lane at any time (although the City Council is claiming the opposite).

Moving parked cars and painting white lines on the floor is easy and fast. But it's not a proper bike infrastructure policy for the 6th most populous metropolitan area of the European Union with a GDP per capita which is not so different from the Danish one. Barcelona and Catalan citizens deserve much more. We have a low cost infrastructure with no decent quality bike paths/lanes.