Bogota closes miles of city streets every Sunday

The Baltimore Sun reports:
Every Sunday, a 19th-century silence descends upon [Bogota, Columbia]. Some 75 miles of connecting streets are closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. As many as 2 million people pour forth to walk, cycle, Rollerblade, jog and simply socialize in communal peace.

No cars. No pollution. No gridlock. No roar of traffic.

"Ciclovia," as it's known, is the world's biggest block party, an urban transformation that borders on magical.

"It's like everyone puts on a new suit of clothes," says Cantori. . . .

Bogota's Ciclovia is all about changing behavior on a mass scale. The throwback Sundays began more than 20 years ago, initially involving only about four miles of roads. Over the years more miles were added, plus more activities.

Cantori describes Ciclovia as a weekly carnival. Along the winding route you can stumble upon everything from free outdoor aerobics classes to mini-concerts. . . .

Enrique Peñalosa - a Duke-educated economist who was mayor of Bogota from 1998 to 2000 (the law forbids serving two consecutive terms) - presided over the greatest expansion of Ciclovia. It became the symbol of a philosophical shift in the use of public spaces, making Peñalosa something of a celebrity in urban-planning circles. . . .

No American city (or mayor) is ready to take that radical a quality-of-life step, but officials in Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia reportedly are contemplating Ciclovia-inspired weekend road closures. Chicago, however, may be ready to roll this fall. Mayor Richard M. Daley has signed off on a "Sunday Parkways" program that would block off three to eight miles of city streets from noon to 5 p.m.
So who's going to be the first city in Missouri to do this?

[Thanks to Karen for the tip . . . ]<?PHP $tags="streets, roads, neighborhoods, urban planning, quality of life"; ??>

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