Buenos Aires is fast becoming one of the most looked up to cities in the world when it comes to reinventing itself thru transportation.
Just over a year ago they opened MetroBus BRT (constructed in less than 7 months) on 9 de Julio Avenue, which many say is the world’s widest street. The redistribution of 4 lanes of car traffic to exclusive bus use has yielded huge dividends for the city and is a bold statement from the administration of Mayor Mauricio Macri about how Buenos Aires thinks about its streets. Over 650,000 people now ride it every day, and MetroBus has cut the average commute in the city center from 50 to 55 minutes to an astonishing 18 minutes!
But that has not been the only benefit. MetroBus’s creation freed up miles of narrow streets that used to be congested and crammed buses. Previously, Buenos Aires had some pedestrian streets, but removing the buses allowed the administration to create a large network of shared streets in the downtown where pedestrians now rule. On the shared streets, cers aren’t permitted to park and the speed limit is an astonishingly low 10km/h. Yes, that is not a misprint, you cannot drive a car more than 6 mph!!!
Bicycling has also seen a huge increase in the past four years. Up from .5% to 3% mode share and climbing. Ecobici is the city’s bike share system which is expanding to 200 stations in early 2015. Oh and add this amazing fact: Ecobici is free for all users for the first hour!
In the next few years, if Buenos Aires continues this push, it could land near the top of most livable cities in the world. As you walk the city you can see that people are craving more pedestrian space.