Proposed bike routes to deflate Costa Rica fuel consumption

June 27, 2008
Five new bike routes are part of the solution the Costa Rican government is proposing to help Ticos “change the culture” of transportation and curb fuel consumption locally, according to one official.
 
Public Works and Transportation Minister Karla González unveiled the bike route plan and discussed future train lines in and around the San José metropolitan area during a press conference yesterday.
 
“What we wanted to do was give a response to the country that we are using all our resources to support the effort Costa Ricans are making with vehicle restrictions,” González said.
 
The latest plans come as part two of the government’s efforts to reduce national fuel consumption (see separate story) in the face of rising prices at the pump, including new San José driving restrictions and a bill to eliminate the tax on diesel and shift it to regular and super.
 
González was pleased with the results of the decree: “It seems to me that it has been successful.”
 
The proposed bike routes will fit naturally with what González called Costa Rica’s “bicycle culture.”
 
“We hope (the bike route plan) will have an important impact … in changing the Costa Rican mentality so that the bicycle can really be an alternative” for vehicle transportation, the minister said.
 
After conducting an initial inventory, the government estimated that 167 km of national roads could benefit from bike routes in five areas: a 43-km stretch from Guácimo to Guápiles, a length of Route 32 within Limón, Esparza center, the road from Liberia to Cañas, and a portion of the new highway 27 de abril in Guanacaste.
 
González estimated the project would cost $100,000 per kilometer, or about $16.7 million all told.
 
International partners at the Mesoamerican Summit held in Mexico at the end of June already promised to donate $1 million to the project, the minister said. The Costa Rican government is hoping to receive a matching donation from the International Motoring Federation and the World Bank.
 
From design to construction, the bike routes could be ready within six months, González said.
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