Real-life experiences on the urban ground: city center
Organized by: GCBA and METROPOLIS
Meeting point at 10:00: NH City & Tower
The central district (Microcentro porteño) is one of the areas with the highest flow of pedestrians and vehicles in the city, and constitutes one of the main commercial and employment hubs. With projects such as Metrobus, the Microcentro Plan, and the Sustainable Transport Plan, a profound transformation was achieved in how public spaces are used in this area, with an improvement in the quality of life of the people who work in the area, an increase in road safety, and a reduction in environmental pollution.
The following activities were performed within the framework of this second experience:
- Microcentro Plan: tour through the main interventions.
- Sustainable Mobility Plan: tour of the 9 de Julio Metrobus(BRT), Combis Terminal, Ecobici System, cycle lanes and pedestrianization, amongst others.
This plan, which has revitalized the centre of the City of Buenos Aires, began in November 2012 and was completed in August 2015. The project covers an area of 1.4 sq. km. The aim was to discover its main interventions: the introduction of LED street lamps, installation of benches, completion of tree-planting, organization of rubbish containers, transport islands, motorcycle parking, tourist bus, pedestrianization and safer pedestrian crossings, underground containers, amongst others. The project was carried out with respect for the original architecture. Furthermore, there was an effort to introduce a more efficient system of waste management, a reduction in pollution, traffic management, the residential development of the area, increased control and effective security around the perimeter, and the generation of a new cultural, tourism, and gastronomical centre that is of interest to all people travelling through or visiting the area.
The participants began their walkabout in the Plaza de Mayo area, where they observed the refurbishment of the façade of the Primada Cathedral of Buenos Aires. Later they continued down Calle San Martín where they viewed the work being carried out to conserve and improve the cultural value of the buildings. Subsequently they visited the pedestrianized Florida, the recovery of which includes the tasks of organizing public spaces, reducing visual eyesores, and installing new street furniture and flagstones. Later they went up to the terrace of the emblematic Bencich Building, where they viewed the work being carried out to restore and recover its architectural beauty.
Sustainable Mobility Plan
In order to build a city that is inclusive, healthy, and modern, it is necessary to give priority to public transport, to the promotion of sustainable transport, to the regulations and road safety, and to the introduction of technologies that allow information be provided in real time.
Riding the Metrobus 9 de Julio (BRT system): the priority of this item was to use the Metrobus, which is the name given to the rapid transit system in Buenos Aires. The city achieved results such as reduced journey times, improved frequencies, higher-quality waiting, reduced pollution, and innovation, all of which taking into account the reality of the situation and the context in which each corridor was circumscribed. Nowadays, the Metrobus network is 38 km in length and transports 640,000 people every day. Its construction in the Avenida 9 de Julio, the most emblematic Avenue in Argentina, is a message to all: public spaces must be conceived and designed for people. First of all, the participants were taken to the stop located at Av. 9 de Julio and Av. Santa Fe, where they began their journey on the Metrobus. They alighted at the Obelisco Sur stop. Later, they visited the Combis Obelisco Terminal, the implementation of which had the aim of constructing an exclusive terminal for the organization and circulation of the minibuses operating in the area. Later they went to the Perón Bicycle Station, which forms part of the Ecobici project, a system of city bicycles. Lastly, the group went on a short walk through the Microcentro, along the Diagonal Norte, Florida, and Lavalle thoroughfares in order to then proceed to the Colón Theatre.
Riding the Ecobicis (bike sharing system): The promotion of bicycle use is a strategic policy for the City of Buenos Aires. Nowadays, they are used by an ever-increasing number of citizens and their benefits are clearly visible. The Ecobici (public city bicycles) are also a fundamental part of sustainable transport which looks to the future. The tour centred on the construction of the network of safe cycle lanes, the Ecobici project, the policies for the promotion of bicycle use, and road-safety education. The tour began at the Monumento a los Españoles, located in Av. Libertador y Sarmiento. There the participants took their bicycles from the docking station to begin the journey which included the cycle lanes in the Libertador, Coronel Díaz, French, Juncal, and Arenales thoroughfares. There was a pause for the purpose of inspecting the infrastructure of the cycle lanes, and later another pause to explain the automation of the Ecobici. The bicycles were left at the Plaza San Martín in order to walk through the main avenues and pedestrianized streets of the Microcentro in order to reach the Colón Theatre.