I LIVE THE MAPOCHO, MAPOCHO PEDALEABLE PROJECT
Yo Vivo Mapocho (I Live the Mapocho), Mapocho Pedaleable Project by Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes· From the conception of the landscape as an experimental and sensory construct, we invite you to travel, virtually and on wheels, along a section of the Mapocho River and reinterpret its potential role as a temporary programmatic infrastructure, within the framework of the project “Mapocho Pedaleable.”
The usual way to interact with the Mapocho River is being on or along its banks high above the river, at a distance from the riverbed, the same as when viewing the river from its bridges. A new possibility of contact is that proposed by the Mapocho Pedaleable Project, which last April 18 and 19 brought together the inhabitants of the city of Santiago for the fourth time to travel the canalized river bed, as a way to reconstruct, from experience, the route of a project not yet built.
The project to construct a continuous cycle path along the river bed was developed by the independent group of professionals Pedaleable, which promotes the reinterpretation of the river as a meeting place and a route for urban mobility, seeking to take advantage of its longitudinal condition as a way to re-integrate the parks and spaces located at its upper edges, while shortening travel times throughout the city (1).
Although the original proposal established a 7-km route along the channeled section of the Mapocho, for the purposes of this gathering the extension of the route corresponded to approximately 2.5 km that covered the municipalities of Providencia, Santiago, Recoleta and Independencia, similar to the bicycle lane on Ricardo Lyon Avenue, inaugurated in December 2014.
Traveling along the edges of the river from the proposed route, even in its reduced version, demonstrates, once again, the importance of design based on an experience and not based on shortcomings. The focus is on reusing, building and rehabilitating places to accommodate a means of transport where there seemed to be no place for it. Consequently, the project promotes the expeditious mobility of cyclists, flanking the always adverse relationship of coexistence with cars and pedestrians. This does not imply the establishment of segregated mobility for those who inhabit the city; it is rather a call to understand that the urban configuration supposes a connection between pre-existing natural systems and new urbanization processes. In this new scenario, initiatives such as the Mapocho Pedaleable show the connective nature of routes such as the historic riverbed, proposing the possibility of reflecting on its potential as a programmatic infrastructure.