CYCLE-PATH TOURISM IN BARCELONA
(1) Cycle path on Taulat Street © Francisca Salas for LOFscapes
For those who visit cities as tourists, it is always advisable to get informed about those places or activities of personal interest that can improve the travel experience. Starting from this premise and my interest in cycling, the cycle route of this week is part of my trip to Barcelona where, thanks to the system of cycle paths, I was able to get to know important urban architectural works, parks, and geographical landmarks functioning as public spaces.
The urban area of Barcelona is 335 km² and currently has 174 km of cycle paths. By the end of the year, however, this infrastructure will be extended to a total of 233 km. This provides benefits to the 99% of the population who now have a network of cycle paths less than 150 meters from their homes; a network that has been designed to move and travel through the city, allowing a full vision of it to be constructed, with access to and for each one of its neighborhoods (1). These figures become relevant if we consider that Santiago, with its 15,403 km² of urban area has 300 kilometers of exclusive bicycle routes (2). Barcelona, then, being 46 times smaller in urban area than Santiago, at the end of this year will have about the same extension of bike routes in terms of kilometers as our capital. As stated in La Vanguardia in March of this year: “In the last two years, the infrastructure of cyclable axes has been extended, and security has been improved to encourage cycle path usage to advance towards alternative modes of mobility and use of public space”(3).
(1) “Barcelona se Recorre en Bicicleta” (Barcelona travelled by bike)<www.lavanguardia.com>
(2) Rodolfo Westhoff, “De 20 a 300 km de ciclovías: la revolución de las bicis en Santiago”(From 20 to 300 km of cycle paths: the bicycle revolution in Santiago) published January 8, 2018 in <eldefinio.cl>
(3) “Barcelona se Recorre en Bicicleta” (Barcelona travelled by bike)<www.lavanguardia.com>
Thanks to this effort to improve the cycle path network of Barcelona, you can get to know remarkable urban places by bicycle: the main Ramblas and pedestrian areas such as St Joan, the Monjuic Park, where works such as the Botanical Gardens of Barcelona, and the Barcelona Pavilion by architect Mies van der Rohe can be seen among other historical and emblematic buildings: Parque de la Ciudadela, Diagonal Mar Park designed by the architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, the Forum building located in the Forum Park designed by the Swiss architects’ office Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. I also visited the works by architect Antonio Gaudi, such as La Sagrada Familia, Parc Güel, Casa Batlló, Casa Milá and the Palacio Gïel, among others.
The strategies implemented in Barcelona have not only aimed at a design with standards of “safety and rationality of the network, but also include the prioritization of unidirectional lanes and roads, exclusive crossings for bicycles, advanced areas to facilitate turns at traffic lights, separations between bike lanes and roadways, new bicycle or motorcycle parking spaces, and better signage”(4). Likewise, activities such as the organization of information sessions and debates on the use of bicycles and safe driving courses have been developed, along with a training center, a school workshop, the collection of abandoned bicycles, the regularization of parking of bicycles in buildings and the improvement of bicycle service through subscription Bicing, which in Santiago the equivalent would be Mobike, Bikesantiago, and Bici Las Condes.
(4) “Barcelona se Recorre en Bicicleta” (Barcelona travelled by bike)<www.lavanguardia.com>
The existence of this cycle path network and its implementation strategies allow travel through Barcelona’s neighborhoods, parks and geographical landmarks. The cycle path network promotes an easily accessible urban experience and also provides an opportunity for a tourist to appreciate the urban panorama at a friendly scale and speed, helping to build a reading of a city in movement.
(2) Cycle path on Paseo St. Joan from plaza Tetuán © Francisca Salas for LOFscapes
(3) Cycle path Av. d’Eduard Maristany © Francisca Salas for LOFscapes
(4) Cycle path on José Pla Street © Francisca Salas . for LOFscapes
(5) Cycle path on de la Selva de Mar Street © Francisca Salas. for LOFscapes
(6) Cartography cycling Tourism in Barcelona, Spain ©Francisca Salas for LOFscapes
OTHER COLUMNS IN THIS SECTION