Former Bogota Mayor Brings Vision of Car-Free San Francisco

Would Californians ever step out of their cars to create a bicycle and pedestrian paradise?

One Thursday every year, the streets of Bogota go quiet when private cars practically disappear.

That's because Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor, instituted rules to make the Colombian capital more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

Besides the holiday from traffic, 18 miles of roads are closed on Sundays, and more lanes have been set aside for buses and bicycles.

San Francisco has taken similar steps, currently working on an ambitious new bike plan and closing down the occasional street for the Sunday Streets program.

But activists at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition invited Peñalosa to town to explain his experience and vision of how to quit the car habit at a lecture this evening at the Main Library.

You might want to get there early -- you know how hard it is to find parking downtown.

Photo by Ann Larie Valentine.

Jackson West wants to know when he can start riding a horse around San Francisco again.

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