Bicycle Palms Avenue


Alejandro Gomez TCS Staff Writer

Alejandro Gomez, Staff Writer

As a recurring Via Las Palmas user for leisure and school, frustration levels were already through the roof because of poorly managed traffic and road accidents. Now, with the new addition of the closure of an entire lane only so that cyclists can go up Palmas, frustration has reached a whole new level.

Pretty bad traffic has now become absurd waiting times to drive 6 km from La Superior to Indiana Mall. The INDER, supported by the Mayor and the Governor of Medellin decided to close an entire lane of the ascending side of the road supposedly so that bicycles have a safe place to ride. Here are the issues: First, the lane that has the most congestion on Sundays and Holidays from 6:00 am till noon is the ascending lane while the descending lane has way less traffic. Second, even though traffic is suffering for the cyclist’s safety (very fair), cyclists still decide to ride down on the lane that doesn’t have the safety cones and ride up Via La Fe and Via el Aeropuerto, two high traffic-high speed main routes. The third and final reason is that even though Medellin and LLanogrande have more than six safe locations to ride through the entire week, this still doesn’t prevent cyclists to ride with a huge safety truck behind them up Palmas or other main roads in the middle of rush hours.

From 6:00 am till noon nearly 70% of the traffic that uses Via Las Palmas is going up. The big question is: Why would they do the ciclovia going up instead of using the descending lane for the bicycle path? This would be the most obvious solution to the traffic problem. They would be able to have both lanes that go up open for business and then one lane going down, but again, very few are descending from Llanogrande. They could have people standing at the merging lanes from Balsos, San Diego, Cola del Zorro, etc… as they do right now and they could have them to stop traffic periodically and cyclists can cross the road and ride on the other lane. That way traffic would be fluid with just three or four stops in the entire drive from San Diego to Indiana instead of the non-stop 20 km/h that we have right now.

“Las Palmas will have 1 lane of the descending side closed from 6:00 am to 10:00 am on Sundays and Holidays so that bicycles can enjoy the route,” Even though this was what Federico Gutierrez Mayor of Medellin said in an interview with El Colombiano before the program started, we see it’s not happening today.  

They already had the solution to the issue and for some reason, they decided to change the way the program would work. This affected the common citizens, workers that depend on the road (truckers, taxis, etc…) and travelers trying to catch their flight. The issue is simple to solve and would improve immensely the traffic times of the road on the weekends.