Response to the injunction request, made by the state public prosecution service, to stop work on bicycle lanes.
The Ciclocidade – Association of Urban Cyclists of São Paulo, along with the organizations mentioned below, express their indignation at the request to stop work on the implantation of the cycling system of the city of São Paulo, an action created by the State Public Ministry (MPE) 3rd Prosecutor of Justice for Housing and Urbanism – through the promoter Camila Mansour Magalhães da Silveira.
The proposed public civil action, with an injunction, questions not only the method of implementation of such structures, but the importance of public policy itself, putting in question the promotion of bicycle use in a city like São Paulo.
Without wishing to exhaust the subject, it is worth remembering here the benefits of promoting the use of the bicycle to preserve lives, as the bicycle is fragile in face of the size and speed of the other vehicles in the streets and a city is desired where elderly and children can occupy the streets without fear; public health, promoting quality of life and reducing hospitalizations, spending on medication for continuous use, preventing cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and helping to control diabetes, as well as reducing physical inactivity and obesity, improving the health of the elderly and increasing Life expectancy; For urban mobility by promoting the migration of motorized modes to the bicycle and improving the fluidity and impact of traffic; For public safety, promoting a new relationship with the city, occupying and humanizing public spaces; For the economy and sustainability, generating income, saving the family budget and reducing public and private waste with congestion and the evident bankruptcy of the car-based transportation system; To reduce air and noise pollution from excessive use of cars, noting that according to research by the Health and Sustainability Institute, air pollution will kill 256,000 people in the state in the next 16 years (almost 44 people a day) and the concentration Of pollutant particles in the air will lead to the hospitalization of 1 million people and public spending estimated at more than R $ 1.5 billion, with at least 25% of the deaths (59 thousand) occurring in the capital; To trade because cyclists are potential customers that pass at low speed and do not require large parking areas, being able to easily stop in front of a shop window, enter a store, get to know a service;To meet the existing demand for the use of the bicycle, since the Metropolitan Region Mobility Survey, carried out by the Metro in 2012, recorded 333 thousand daily trips by bicycle during working days, even with the infrastructure still reduced, deficient and disconnected; To reduce the stress caused to citizens by congestion, bringing gains to individual quality of life and health, improving interpersonal relationships and humanizing traffic and the city; For the resumption of street use by children, being a leisure option that rescues a long forgotten childhood facet in the most urbanized areas of the city, and considering that we already have children using the bicycle paths with their parents, with the potential of Given a moment to ride alone to their schools; For the time savings of citizens, especially at peak times, when the average speed of cars reaches a mere 6.9 km / h in some cases; For a democratization of access to the city, allowing all citizens to have access to all points of the city, since the failures of public transportation and historical prioritization of the displacement in automobile end up hampering access to certain areas and districts that are not used of a car; To stimulate the exchange of modalities, reducing congestion due to excessive use of the automobile and the crowding of public transport.
For those who ride bikes in São Paulo, 2014 can be considered a historical year. The city jumped from 63 km to over 200 km of cycling infrastructure in about 7 months. The plan for 2015 is to reach 463 km of exclusive and segregated roads. The Strategic Master Plan, whose revision began in 2013 and was sanctioned in July 2014, had the direct and wide participation of cyclists and the population as a whole in the construction of the chapters related to the bicycle and in the prioritization of the active modes of transportation, in Detrimental to individual motorists, following the guidelines of the National Urban Mobility Plan (see Article 6). This current scenario of progress already yields important results and can not be called into question through a unilateral and deeply questionable injunction.
The results of such policies can be seen in the increase in the use of bicycles in the city, especially in the expanded center, the most privileged area for the implantation of cycle lanes and cycle paths so far, where the bicycle infrastructure also meets the demand of the bicycles of cargo, improving sharing between freight bikes and pedestrians. Another interesting aspect observed in the center with the implantation of bicycle structures is the demand for sidewalks, which remain small and insufficient. As a practical example of this increase in the use of bicycles, we can cite the scores of cyclists made by Ciclocidade at Avenida Eliseu de Almeida. There, there was an increase of more than 50% in the use of the bicycle, a few months after the implantation of a bicycle lane.
The action in the Public Prosecutor’s Office cites at all times the safety of those who ride a bicycle as a premise for their action, forgetting that it is precisely the cycle infrastructure that guarantees cyclists safety, comfort and practicality in their movements. The measure also questions the need to measure the frequency of cyclists as justification for the implementation of a cycleway or bicycle path. This does not take into account the role of this infrastructure, which is essentially to induce demand. This in a city that needs, a long time ago, to significantly increase the use of alternative modes less polluting than the car in its streets. The city of Bogotá (Colombia), before the implementation of its 350km cycle network, bittered a percentage of trips made by bicycle that did not exceed 1%. Nowadays the city already counts on 7% of the trips realized in bicycles; Proving, furthermore, that cycling infrastructure induces demand and promotes the migration of other modes to the bicycle. As a local example, we can mention Av. Faria Lima, where there were almost no bicycles circulating due to the aggressiveness of the road and today the counts made by the cycle in this way point to more than 1700 cyclists in the booked time, arriving at a flow of 193 bicycles per hour At the peak.
The photographic and detailed report on the action of the MPE presents problems and occasional cases in the implantation of the bicycle lanes and cycle paths and that surely they should be solved and that also are targets of continuous collection by the cyclists.They are holes, puddles, faults in painting, mouths of wolf, grills, among other cases.However, such failures should not compromise public policy per se, as suggested by MEP action, since the solutions are of low complexity and cost. Following the reasoning logic of the prosecution, we would certainly have to prohibit the circulation of motor vehicles in practically the whole city, due to the quality of the asphalt, the proliferation of holes in the roads and the recurring problems with traffic lights.
The MPE states: “Even today, the vehicle [car] is the mode of transportation that carries the largest number of people in this Municipality”, which is a serious misconception. The largest part of the population of São Paulo travels on foot or By means of public transportation, according to the 2007 Metro’s Origin and Destination survey. A more recent survey by Rede São Paulo / IBOPE indicates that for those who make daily use of the means of transportation, the car is the option Only 20% of people, while public transport, added up, is equivalent to 34% – the same percentage of people who walk. Although it is not the most used vehicle, it is a fact that the car occupies the most space in the The biggest responsible for the congestion in the city, as well as for the pollution, noise and stress of the population, constituting a huge daily damages to the municipality. Imposed by the various governments.
When questioning the public interest in investing in cycling structures, the promoter shows ignorance of the reality of the city. The same research already quoted from the Rede São Paulo / IBOPE shows that 88% of people are in favor of building and expanding bicycle paths. She also says that 71% of the interviewees would exchange the car for an efficient and safe alternative; Of these, 40% cited the bicycle provided adequate infrastructure. Cycle paths and cycle paths are being implemented where previously there were parked cars, that is, real estate, returning to the public circulation and ensuring fluidity of vehicular traffic to a road that was idle and “privatized”, without any collective benefit. Public to the promoter refers, therefore?
MPE talks about public participation. The residents of the city of São Paulo were heard in the discussions of the Strategic Master Plan and in the discussions of the Municipal Traffic and Transport Council regarding the city’s cycle planning. A Thematic Chamber of Bicycles is in operation in the city of São Paulo precisely to follow the implementation of the cycle system. The Public Ministry in this action, unlike the Executive Branch, at no time sought to hear any of the organizations signed here. Neither did road works have public participation, and were nonetheless carried out without questioning the MPE.
In suggesting to undo the Paulista Avenue cycleway, a work that has been discussed since its inception, and at an advanced stage of implementation, the MPE is experimenting damage to what it advocates: good use of public money and collective interest and well-being. The Paulista cycleway was presented and discussed at public hearings, in meetings with civil society and with interested organizations. In addition, it has always been well received by bicycle users. This is because the route is not only one of the most used by cyclists in the city; It is a symbolic cycling infrastructure on an avenue historically marked by tragedies. Without the bike path, Paulista is the most dangerous route in the city for those who ride bicycles, which highlights, once again, the importance of the structure in saving lives.
The prosecutor also asks that “the site’s functionality be restored”, at Avenida Paulista, for “security of the citizens”. That is: the cyclist, from the point of view of action, is not a citizen (or should not be treated as such). When the Public Prosecutor questions “where the cyclists will go on rainy days” (sic), stating that “public transportation will not do it”, it launches a puzzling and empty enigma in itself: what does the MPE suggest? Which cyclists who do not want to ride in the rain cease to exist on such days? Or that they use cars, further congesting already chaotic motorized individual traffic?
The promoter and her team may not have noticed the fact that among the cities with the largest bicycle use in the world are several cities with an unstable and temperate climate, which offer much more exasperating climatic conditions than São Paulo. We can mention the cities of Portland, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo.Therefore, it is absolutely wrong to say that the rains would bring a reduction of the use of this modal, that would justify the non-implantation of a bicycle structure; Besides the fact that our city has a foreseeable rain, concentrated in a few months and long periods of drought. In addition, of course, there is rain cover, which also occurs with motorcyclists.
Ciclocidade and the undersigned organizations request that the Judiciary reject the request for a preliminary injunction, just as the Court of Justice did in the absurd recent case of the Madre Cabrini Street bicycle lane in Vila Mariana, where there was an understanding of “Public order and security and economy.”
It is urgent that we transform the bicycle policy of São Paulo into a State policy, beyond management or a mandate, and we will not accept any step contrary to a city that is more cycling, more humane, safer, more inclusive and more just. The State Public Prosecutor’s Office represented, surprisingly, a setback. This retrocession must be trimmed by the next to examine the issue-the judiciary.
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