Enrique Peñalosa in SF: A Livable Streets Visionary Shares His Wisdom

Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá and creator of cilovía, spoke in San Francisco this weekend. This is just full of gold:

Many of SF’s battles over re-allocating street space for people focus on maintaining car parking. To that, Peñalosa says, ”We should remember that parking is not a constitutional right.”

Peñalosa pointed out that there’s no other piece of personal property for which the public provides free space for its storage. When someone buys a refrigerator, for example, the public isn’t obligated to provide a kitchen.

“Having a bus in traffic is almost as absurd as having women not vote,” said Peñalosa. “Maybe it’s not the same, but clearly, if we have a democracy, a bus should never be in a traffic jam. Never. How can you justify it, having big roads for private cars and no exclusive lanes for buses?”

“Are protected bikeways a right, like sidewalks? I would say so, unless we say that only those who have a motor vehicle have a right to safe mobility without the risk of getting killed,” he said[.]

Peñalosa says immediate neighbors of the public right-of-way shouldn’t get to dictate everything about its use.

“Do you think it would be democratic, for example, for people who live on Fifth Avenue in New York — in front of Central Park, in a $20 million apartment — to have more of a right to decide what to do in Central Park than people who live in the Bronx?,” he asked.

Can he run for mayor here?