Thursday 23 September 2021

Costa Rica perpetuates “autocentrism””, according to mobility experts

The car in Costa Rica remains at the center of road infrastructure design in the country, say mobility experts.

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(QCOSTARICA) The country is experiencing unprecedented road development after years of being stalled, under the tutelage of Minister of Public Works Rodolfo Méndez.

Roadworks such as the recently completed Garantias Sociales underpass on the Circunvalacion exclude pedestrians and cyclists from their design, according to mobility experts.

However, this development vision perpetuates a kind of “autocentrism” (Carrocentrismo in Spanish) in the country, when this is not the most used means of transportation by people, according to mobility experts.

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This is caused because the works were conceived years ago, with a different vision of development, which is not the one that current generations envision, according to David Gómez, director of the BiciBus collective.

Gomez points out the exclusion of pedestrians and cyclists from road infrastructures, such as the Guadalupe and Garantia Sociales interchanges of the Circunvalacion; the Ruta 32 (San Jose – Limon) with no bicycle path contemplated, despite the fact that the vast majority of the inhabitants of the nearby communities use the two-wheeler as a means of transportation.

In the expansion of Florencio del Castillo (San Jose – Cartago), the problem is seen in the overpass that is planned to be built at the height of La Galera, in Curridabat, whose design does not include cycling infrastructure, although it should have it by law.

Precisely for this reason, BiciBus, along with other groups, such as Aconvivir, intend to challenge works that do not comply with the Cycling Mobility and Safety Law, which came into force at the beginning of this year.

They also seek that works designed before the law adhere to one of its main premises: contemplate bicycle lanes in the design of road infrastructure.

“It is like a bank designing a building 20 years ago and starting to build it today without complying with the Equal Opportunities Law for People with Disabilities Law (Ley 7600), it would be absurd,” said Ramón Pendones, director of Aconvivir.

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Private car users are about 41% of the population, while public transport users 52%, estimated a 2018 report, prepared by the Comptroller General.

Despite this, private cars occupy about 80% of the road infrastructure in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), with an average of 1.3 passengers per vehicle.

“The balance of the future road infrastructure is totally inclined towards cars; it is unconnected with the development model that we want and with the decarbonization goals that the country has,” concluded Gómez.

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