We at The Bike GPS previously came down hard on the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for essentially blaming the death of London cyclists on the cyclists themselves. While Johnson purports to be a cycling advocate, we questioned his alignment with the interests of London cyclists. But for every mayor that doesn’t support cyclists, there is likely a mayor that does. Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia and a Duke University alumnus, is one of cycling’s greatest and smartest advocates.
As featured in the documentary “Urbanized” (currently available on Netflix), one of the reasons why we love Mayor Penalosa is for making the point that parking is not a human right. While various rights are afforded to citizens of Colombia in their nation’s constitution, the right to park is not among them. And why does this matter? Well, if transportation administrations are trying to come up with ways to restrict traffic, one of the best ways to do so is to limit parking spaces. After all, it’s not the number of people who have cars that’s the chief cause of traffic jams. It’s the number of commutes. If parking spaces are restricted, people would be disinclined to commute by motor vehicle on more and more occasions.
The Bike GPS salutes Mayor Penalosa — who also gave a fantastic TED talk on how buses are democracy in action — for trying to figure out novel ways to restrict commuting by cars. In so doing, he established himself as one of cycling’s greatest political advocates.