So Sunday at a big climate change event in Istanbul, I make the case for bicycling as part of the answer to this city's traffic problems.
The traffic snarls here are legendary. It's like rush hour maybe 18 hours a day. Last night we took a cab down along the Bosphorous coast on the European side. It was 8:30 p.m. but traffic was stop start all the way. After 10 minutes watching pedestrians pass us by, we paid our fare and hit the pavement ourselves. Istanbul is a great city for walking, lots of stuff to see and even with the lack of crosswalks, you can always squeeze through traffic because it's often not moving.
Not great for cycling at all. City has a plan to build 1,004 km of cycling tracks, but so far just 40 km have been built. Public transport is very scarce for a city of this size. So everyone's by car and there's no dedicated space for bikes.
At this event, Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership training, there are about 580 attendees. One guy came by bike, an Istanbul colleague of mine at the REC named Aren. He says he bikes everywhere. It's the only way to travel here with any predictability. On four wheels, you're subject to traffic disruptions and jams, so you have to give yourself an hour safety margin if you have an important meeting to get to. By bike, you may have to suck a lot of exhaust, but you never get stuck, he said. Reminded me of my experience in Paris -- tons of traffic but it was normally moving so slowly that it didn't seem threatening.
Move along, nothing to see here
9 hours ago