San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cartago plans country's first major bike path

The city of Cartago, east of San José, is getting closer to being the first in the greater metropolitan area to have a dedicated path for bicyclists.

Plans include construction of a 5.8-kilometer circuit that travels to sites such as the central market, the Technological Institute of Costa Rica and the Basilica of Los Angeles, the daily La Nación reported. It will also be a part of the Fello Meza stadium tour, Cartago College and the sports center.

On Tuesday, Cartago received construction plans from Jean Todt, chairman of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), who made the trip to the country to deliver the documents. The FIA, through Todt’s foundation, has donated $1 million to the development of road safety projects in Costa Rica since 2008. Of that money, $300,000 was used on a one kilometer-long bicycle path in Hatillo, a southern suburb of San José, inaugurated on Jan. 15, 2009 by German driver Michael Schumacher. The remaining $700,000 will go to the bike path in Cartago.

The money is in the custody of the Automobile Club of Costa Rica, the FIA representative in the country.

Scheduled to be finished in 2014, the bike path will be divided into eight sectors with each sector having a specific color labeling it. There will also be covered seating areas.

The path will be two meters wide with lanes for travel in both directions. In other parts of the path, the lanes are separated with each lane having a width of 1.2 meters, municipal officers told La Nación. It will be made with concrete, although in some areas will go through existing pavement.

Francisco Jiménez, Minister of Public Works and Transport, who was in Cartago yesterday, told La Nación that over the next three years they will build more bike paths around the country. One will be 26 kilometers long between Cañas and Liberia, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. This path is included in the expansion to four lanes. Another project is an eight-kilometer path from San Isidro de El General to Palmares de Pérez Zeledón in the Southern Zone.

With the addition of bike paths, lawmakers will discuss reforms to traffic laws, including drinking and driving. People who drive with 0.75 blood alcohol content face a fine and imprisonment.

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