Spain’s Seville Sees Superb Cycling

I love the letter C.

People for Bikes is always coming out with new information about other cities in order to learn from their example and hopefully convince the nay sayers that what we are doing will not destroy their way of life. This city prospective comes to us from Seville, Spain where bike culture has grown dramaticly in recent years. Here are some stats for your reading pleasure:

  • Seville added 100 miles of new bike infrastructure in 36 months between 2007 and 2009.
  • 85% of the space came from removal of car parking and travel lanes; 15% came from pedestrian space (which was compensated for by major, new additions to public space in other places).
  • The improvements increased the number of trips taken by bicycle from 0.4% to ~ 7%.
  • In 2005, a major public plaza was redesigned to be more accessible to bikes and pedestrians:
    • removed 200 parking spaces
    • held 100+ public meetings, initial opposition to the plan was fierce from retailer organization and neighbors; now, 22% of customers arrive by bike and several new businesses have opened; retailers along the plaza are thriving.
    • incorporated a major stormwater management system into the design
  • In 2006, Seville re-engineered a major four lane arterial road to be a shared plaza with streetcar, bike and pedestrian space. Initially opposed, the conversion is now very popular. “This defeats the myth that European streets have ‘always been this way.’ This amazing place is only five years old!” — Gil Peñalosa, Director of 8-80 Cities and Conference MC.
  • City Council passed a law that limits auto access in the central city to residents only; the law reduced the daily number of cars in downtown from 25,000 to 10,000.
  • “Great is the enemy of good.” The city’s infrastructure emphasizes network connectivity, not perfection. It’s far from the polished bikeways of Northern Europe, but the protected bikeways of Seville are safe, convenient and get you where you need to go without interruption.
  • “This used to be a dangerous street for bicyclists and pedestrians. Now the biggest threat is getting hit by a falling orange.” Gil Peñalosa — on a redesigned street with protected bike lanes along a row of orange trees.
Written by Chris Belsole


1 Comment

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One response to “Spain’s Seville Sees Superb Cycling

  1. ethan

    I enjoyed this article. However, as I tweeted, this would never fly in America because they removed parking spaces to make room for bikes. That’s terrorist talk.

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