Bogota is a sprawling metropolis that almost 10 million people call home. To simplify things, the good people at the street naming council of Bogota decided that they’d implement a number system on the roads, instead of road names. The obvious intention is that it’s easier to find where you are.
Here is a map of central Bogota:
Now here’s a map of Manhattan New York:
See the difference? While Manhattan is actually a grid, Bogota is not. This means that the number system, while helpful in some areas of the city, actually falls flat. There are a number of streets where you’ll walk in a straight line and yet somehow change streets several times. Also, there are streets that just don’t seem to exist. For example, we have Calle 65 and Calle 67, but it’s almost impossible to find Calle 66.
Moreover, when streets run into a maze of ‘Diagonals’, ‘Transversals’, 135a, 135b, 135c, 135bis, then you know something about the system just ain’t working. In two addresses I`ve lived at here in Bogota, taxi drivers have regularly told me that my address didn’t exist. Mr. Taxi Driver, with all the respect in the world (as we say in Colombia), I live there.
While I have sympathy for those who prefer this flawed system to actual street names, it’s pretty hard not to get frustrated as you’re lost in a labyrinth of winding roads and numbers that seem to have to relevance to where you are, nor each other.
And when Bogota roads do have names? Well, Carrera 50 is called ‘Avenida 30’. The horror!