By Gord Price

I’ll soon be off to Buenos Aries – one of those bucket-list adventures I can’t put off any longer.  Preceded by a trip to Rio for New Year’s Eve.

So I’ve been asking friends to send along items and articles that will help be a better-informed flaneur in both places.  

That includes PTers (thinking of you, Roger).  So post items, links and must-see-and-do suggestions in Comments below.

First up, an article from CityLab passed along by Brent Toderian:

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… what Buenos Aires did is about as bold as it gets when it comes to making can’t-be-missed statements about what urban mobility means today. The 9 de Julio Metrobus is a sort of transport surgery on the beating heart of the city — similar in ways to what New York City did a few years ago when it shut cars out of parts of Times Square. …

City work crews ripped out four traffic lanes in the middle of the roadway. In just seven months, they gave the space entirely to buses and the people who ride them. …

Buses used to be stuck in the mix of traffic on 9 de Julio, jostling with with cars, taxis and trucks. Now, buses have their own lanes for 3 km before peeling off into traffic to get to their destinations. More than 200,000 commuters, many of them traveling to or from the suburbs, enjoy a faster ride that also makes a subway transfer obsolete. …

The transformation was controversial. The loudest opposition came from groups of architects, city planners, and environmentalists who didn’t want to see 1,500 trees and the small green spaces surrounding them removed. (Most of the trees were replanted elsewhere.) Some said the project should be built on the outer edges of the avenue, not in the middle of it. …

Buses used to run on the narrow and busy downtown streets nearby. Now, those buses have been diverted to the exclusive lanes on 9 de Julio. And the city has turned about 100 blocks of those once noisy and polluted roads into either fully pedestrianized streets or pedestrian-priority zones.

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90 percent of those who move around the city are pedestrians. But previously, 70 percent of the space downtown was used by cars and buses. Now that distribution has basically been flipped around in the pedestrian-priority zones. The city also has added 130 km of bike lanes.

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Rather than wait until I return to post out, I’ll be Instagramming while in South America under “pricetags.”