CICLOVÍA RICARDO LYON · INDICATIONS OF THE BEGINNINGS OF A PRODUCTIVE PAST
Most of the time we are accustomed to touring the city without stopping to see the subtle details that can reveal our country’s historical and productive past, which is why today we invite you to tour the bike path of Ricardo Lyon Avenue and discover its relationship with the productive character of the hundred-year-old Santiago.
“See the same from another perspective. Those of us who go for a bike ride without a fixed course and get carried away by what we see, we find that within certain neighborhoods we thought we knew there are other neighborhoods… remains of the old, new configurations, customs ”(1).
(1) Juan Carlos Kreimer, Bici Zen: Ciclismo Urbano como Camino (Bici Zen: Urban Cycling as a Way) Santiago: Catalonia, 2013, p.66.
Moving through the city by bicycle, using it as a means of transportation and planning our journeys based on a daily routine suggests touring the city from a dynamic of habit, often blocking the opportunity to visualize the characteristics and signs that speak of the history of places, of a site and its origins. In this context, the writer and journalist Juan Carlos Kreimer suggests that we be attentive to the details that our tours offer us to discover in them the history that has shaped our urban landscape.
The cycle path of Ricardo Lyon Avenue extends for 2.3 km with a width that varies between 2.3 and 2.6 m. It was inaugurated on December 20, 2014, with a roadway and bidirectional section design that traverses the community of Providencia from north to south, between Coyancura and Doctor Pedro Lautaro Ferrer Streets. Likewise, its layout projects a circuit of immediate connection with the Pocuro cycle path and, indirectly, with the Simón Bolívar cycle path (Ñuñoa). Its route, bordered by rows of plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia), is accompanied by Coyancura Street and Francisco de Bilbao Avenue by a linear section of ditches that have channeled rain and irrigation waters for centuries, reminding us along the way of the productive past of an area that we travel on a daily basis.
Towards the middle of the 19th century, the division and subdivision of agricultural properties, together with the layout of roads, streets, and avenues, contributed to the development of a process of urbanization of the Santiago Valley. Among these properties was the Los Leones estate of Don Ricardo Lyon, who was mayor of the community between 1909 and 1915 and from 1922 to 1924 (2).
(2) See Municipalidad de Providencia, Historia de las Calles (Municipality of Providencia, History of its Streets) (2015) <www.providencia.cl>.
The western border of the estate was formed by the current Av. Ricardo Lyon, and is at the same time part of a network connecting with the current Providencia Avenue. Both avenues, that together with Tobalaba and Diego de Almagro Street, were part of the 1,200 hectares of the property, incorporating in their lands what are now the Parish of San Ramón and the Plazuela de Los Leones (3). In terms of agricultural production, the main products harvested were grass, alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, peas, corn and beans, a crop of French grapes intended for the production of chicha (new wine) and wine, in addition to a breeder of racehorses named “Criadero Limited“(Breeding Limited).
(3) René León Echaiz, Ñuñohue. Historia de Ñuñoa, Providencia, Las Condes y La Reina (History of Ñuñoa, Providencia, Las Condes, and La Reina) Buenos Aires: Editorial Francisco de Aguirre, 1972 p.141-46, 2018.
In this context, paying attention to the elements and infrastructures that make up our routes implies revealing and recalling the history and identity of a productive territory, where its historical traces have become not only organizing elements but also part of the territorial identity of which cities like Santiago are constructed (4).