Alexandria and Rio are two cities featuring beautiful waterfronts. But far from the visual similarity, there are two different stories. Alexandria Corniche (coastal road) is highly motorized with some parts of it made of six car lanes in each direction. If you go to Alexandria and you stay in a vintage sea-view hotel in the old city, you are very likely to know all the city’s problems in the first day. Apart from your almost collapsing balcony; the beautiful historical corniche street will be your biggest problem. Noise, pollution, and crowds of people waiting for a seat in the fully reserved microbuses will hinder you from enjoying your view of the eastern harbor. And if you’re a resident of the city, this chaos becomes your daily life.
Rio, on the other hand, had developed an active street with its fantastic waterfront, open beaches, a walkable street and two-directions bikeway. Future development in Rio is going towards a better cycling mobility, especially cargo mobility which accounts for 38% of all cycling in the city. cycling tours are also becoming more popular and the government is making plans to increase the number of cyclists. The city appeared on Copenhagenize index as one of the top 20 cycling cities in 2011 and again in 2013, whereas very few cities from the global south made it to the list.
Meanwhile, Alexandria had replaced part of its corniche with a multistory parking garage and car overpass, and the city is planning a new high way that covers Al-Mahmodeya canal and totally removes the southern corniche and waterway. And as it has been proved in many cities around the world, motorized cities never provide a good livable place for humans. The sight of car accidents became the norm on the corniche road with a daily average of 3.3 car accidents only on this road. And with the new developments taking place to favor the cars over the people, it will be even harder for the Alexandrians to find a space for them in the city.
So is it time to provide an alternative?