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Expert Voices: Roberto R. Luna, Metropolitan Municipality of Lima

The C40 Cities of Lima and New York, recently conducted an exchange in the area of non-motorized transportation – getting people to walk or bike instead of taking taxis, cars or buses. The exchange was facilitated by C40 and represents a model for peer-to-peer learning that other C40 Cities can replicate. Its goal was to share best practices on the development and implementation of public bike share programs. New York’s Department of Transport (DOT) will soon launch its “Citi Bike” program, while Lima’s program is in the early stages of development.

In order to learn more about New York’s program, I decided to go to the “Big Apple” — I was full of expectation and desire to get as much information as possible. It was a great pleasure to meet the high quality professional staff at New York’s DOT and to understand the great efforts they have made over the past two years in developing this program. The idea that all members were cycling enthusiasts and urban specialists fascinated me from the very start.

I learned that everything that is being done in this city is in order to improve the environment. In the past few years, New York has focused on the fight against climate change. The DOT and other departments of the city government are all aware that they have to help bring about substantial changes in order to secure the city’s long term sustainability.

Some of these changes include the short trips people make within the city. To give people more – and more affordable – options for short trips, New York is deploying 10,000 bicycles and establishing a wide network of 600 stations covering half of Manhattan and part of Brooklyn and Queens.

The Citi Bike program is funded entirely by private sector capital and private sector contractors will handle ongoing operation and maintenance. It is expected to generate up to 200 jobs and drive further investment in the areas surrounding the bicycle stations.

Thanks to the great experience of this exchange with New York, my own city of Lima has gained access to technical support as well as policy expertise. Under the leadership of Mayor Susana Villarán, Lima is starting to develop its own public bike system as a key part of the transport reform being done in the city.

By getting people out of motorized vehicles for short trips, we hope Lima’s bike system will help to reduce transport-related pollutant levels in the city. Moreover, by feeding into the “Metropolitano” Bus Rapid Transit system and the Metro, we expect our public bike program to expand the service areas and ridership of Lima’s mass transit systems.