Taking Back the Streets of Santiago
Every Sunday, the streets of Providencia in Santiago are closed off to cars and trucks and opened up to families, friends, pets, bicycles and good healthy fun. I Love Chile‘s Paul Urmston is inspired.
Today I woke up inspired. It happens to me sometimes. For no reason whatsoever I will simply have a moment and I will know I must do something, something positive.
These can be things like completely redesigning my websites to washing my chihuahua.
From calling my clients and giving them free advice, to cleaning my apartment from top to bottom.
I think we all have moments like these, right?
So as I said, today I woke up feeling inspired. I walked my dog even though she probably didn’t take too well to being dragged out of her warm bed, into her jacket, put on a leash and being walked around at 08:00 on a Sunday.
I came back home and cooked breakfast for my family. I cleaned the kitchen, the stove, and the fridge … But I needed more.
At the moment I am a huge fan of Providencia. I will have to leave this area of Santiago in abound six months and I am not completely happy about it. True, I am moving somewhere much greener, cleaner, and let’s say, to a house somewhat bigger, but I am currently so damned impressed with the comuna and its recent push for ciclovía (cycle lanes).
For a while now, every Sunday for a few hours, my local municipalidad closes down lots of streets and gives it back to the people. It’s amazing. We are not talking about small streets and avenues either: Pedro de Valdivia, Pocuro, Tobalaba, and more are out of bounds to personal and public vehicular transport and the local residents take control of the streets for themselves. Sounds great.
So, I got on my bike, grabbed my trusty new Nikon and decided to go take a 10km ride around and see if this is as popular as I hoped it would be. And I wasn’t disappointed.
My apartment is a few blocks from Pocuro, and once I got there it was easy to see which way I was supposed to go. It was flooded with people. Such a great vibe.
Some companies have even set up tents to help with the movement. This one offers fresh water, fruit, and even bicycle repairs… all for free.
And I mean how multi-tasking can you get. Walk the dog, take the kids out, keep fit, all in one. I’m impressed.
Not sure if this guy got the idea. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think you can burn calories whilst sitting on an electric bicycle. But still, thumbs up for getting outside in the first place!
So, thank you Providencia. Thank you for taking the initiative and giving the roads, even for a few hours, back to the people of Providencia. There were thousands of people out and about on bikes, boards, blades, and more. It is so great to see that things like this are possible. That people do want this, and that for a relatively small investment not only are you promoting healthily living, but also showing that the municipalidad truly cares about the people in the community.
Be fit, keep in shape, have fun, spend the day with the family, walk the dog, take a ride, learn a new hobby, show your children you care, support your local municipalidad. Make a positive change not just for you, but for your loved ones.
If you live in Providencia, show your support. Get out there, take photos, tell us what you think. If you don’t live in Providencia, come on down and see what it is all about. Tell, nay shout, at your municipalidad to do the same. Just a few hours a week like this makes such a positive impact on your lifestyle, and those who you live with. Demand that they do something in your area. And if they don’t listen, tell us. We are happy to help the cause.
Now stop reading and get on your bike!
More photos on my personal Flickr account.