San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Urban living

San José’s new bike path expected to be ready in July

Crews from the Municipality of San José began work Monday on a new stretch of the capital’s bike path. The route will connect San Pedro, just east of the city limits, to La Sabana Park on the west side of town.

The project is a joint effort of the municipalities of San José, Montes de Oca and the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT). According to the official timetable, it will take four months to complete.

MOPT’s Department of Traffic Engineering designed the 15.4-kilometer (9.5-mile) route, whose width ranges from 1.5 to 2 meters (5-6.5 feet).

The new bike path is painted green and will have road reflectors and road safety poles on various stretches.

New route

The Municipality of Montes de Oca launched the construction of the first section of the bike path between the University of Costa Rica’s School of Law and the Hispanoamericana University in Barrio Escalante earlier this month. The city is investing ₡53 million ($93,000) in that segment of the path and expects to finish in early May, MOPT reported.

The Municipality of San José is responsible for the remaining stretch of the bike route, which will take cyclists through downtown San José and Barrio San Bosco.

“We hope this new bike path allows people to see the environmental benefits and the benefits of this transportation system for the city and for the people’s well-being,” said San José Mayor Johnny Araya at a public event on Monday morning.

The Municipality of San José said in a news release that the ₡60 million (some $106,000) budget for its part of the project also includes repairs and expansion of sidewalks and media campaigns to inform motorists, pedestrians and cyclists about the new route.

The project has not been universally acclaimed. Motorists claim the bike path in Los Yoses is reducing the space for them along a stretch on 41st Street, already a narrow road.

Works on the capital’s bike path are angering some motorists who claim the bike path is reducing the space for them on the roads.

(Via MOPT)

Second round

The San José Municipality inaugurated its first bike path downtown in 2015; however, that route is mostly unused. While the path sought to provide cyclists with a route from La Soledad Church to San Juan de Dios Hospital, paint and signage on that first bike path now has mostly disappeared, and MOPT has confirmed the path will be eliminated.

The ministry said that a recent evaluation by its Department of Traffic Engineering found that it is inconvenient to have a bike path along the pedestrian boulevard on Avenida 4.

“Pedestrians, street vendors and parked vehicles make it almost impossible for cyclists to use the path there,” the report states.

Transport Vice Minister Liza Castillo said on Monday morning that authorities are very pleased with the new project. She said the new bike path makes “a more efficient use of available space along the roads and provides a more safe and organized interaction between the city’s commuters.”

Municipalities are currently working on a second stage of the project that will include the construction of bike parking facilities and bicycle rental services.

Hover over the map to see the route:

San José’s bike path

Contact L. Arias at

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Ken Morris

I’m surprised that the photos accompanying this article don’t show cars parked in the bike lane. The usual use of these bike lanes is to provide free parking for motorists, unless of course the dolts constructing them put them on a crowded pedestrian street like Avenue 4.

However, let me be cautiously optimisic. I see from the map included (thanks) that the route is a southern one. This is what I told the planners, namely that an east-west route through San Jose on the north side is now impossible, although the southern side is OK (without even a lane). They therefore did the sensible thing and put the route on south side.

Unfortunately, putting a lane on a route that’s already doable without one isn’t a super improvement, and with the north side of the city still an obstacle, the absence of safe bicycle access to it remains a problem.

What people don’t seem to realize is that bicyclists want to go everywhere that motorists and pedestrians want to go. We don’t actually only want to go to parks, and in fact may not go to parks any more often than anyone else.

A lot more needs to be done than this route, but out of curiosity, I’ll try it. It could be a weak start–unless of course it’s just clogged with parted cars and trucks.

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