European Mobility Week in Western Balkans: #Walk with us – between September 16-22
During the European Mobility Week (EMW), which has started today, on September 16 and will last until September 22, numerous activities will be held in cities of the Western Balkans, including an online conference with participation of the mayors of Belgrade, Podgorica, Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Tirana. The mayors will be discussing about the European Mobility Week activities and promotion of sustainable urban mobility.
Numerous activities taking place across the Western Balkan region dedicated to the topic of the European Mobility Week are supported by GIZ under the Sustainable Urban Mobility in the South-East European Countries II (SUMSEEC II) project and within the Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE).
European Mobility Week this year is focusing on safe walking and cycling
Since 2002, the European Mobility Week has been looking for ways to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as to improve public health and quality of life. The campaign gives participants the opportunity to explore the role of city streets and experiment with practical solutions to urban challenges such as air pollution.
This year’s European Mobility Week is focusing on safe walking and cycling, and the benefits it can have for our health, our environment, and our bank accounts. Active transport modes are emission-free and help to keep our cardio-vascular system and body healthy.
The capital cities supported under the SUMSEEC II project are: Belgrade, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Priština, Skopje, Tirana. In addition to the major cities, in cooperation with the associations of municipalities in the Western Balkan countries, the project supported the following municipalities: Librazhd, Belsh, Cerrik and Shkodra in Albania, Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Zavidovići and Čapljina in BiH, Pljevlja and Rožaje in Montenegro, Bitola and Veles in North Macedonia, Kruševac in Serbia, Gnjilane, Ferizaj, Gračanica and Podujevo in Kosovo.
Activities in the capitals of Western Balkan countries include:
Belgrade is marking this year’s European Mobility Week with a variety of activities, including the promotion of the pedestrian zone widening, as well as the use of the Sparrow e-minibus. The focus is also on the Car-Free Day, which is usually held on the last day of the European Mobility Week, the application of slow traffic measures, education, and prizes awarding. Citizens who participate in walking and cycling will have the opportunity to check blood pressure and blood sugar levels before and after the activity in order to see the direct health benefits of walking and cycling.
Sarajevo will close one street (Vilsonovo šetalište St.) throughout European Mobility Week. The Minister of Transport of the Canton Sarajevo Adnan Šteta will present project Safe roads to the schools using modified signalisation. In addition to a conference/panel discussion for citizens and experts focusing on air quality and public transport on a Cantonal level, the Prime Minister of the Canton and Minister for Transport will discuss with experts about air quality. Second part of the Conference has topic on safe walking and cycling as well as public transport development perspectives within the Green Cities Initiative with a focus on innovative mobility.
An open-air class is planned for the presentation of the idea to permanently ban motor vehicles in the street of Vilsonovo šetalište, and the concept of introducing e-scooters including necessary regulatory changes and infrastructure adaptations.
A demonstration exercise on organizing safe traffic in the road works area will be held as well as a promotional bicycle ride as part of the Car-Free Day on September 22, as well an event with the slogan Walk with us along Wilson’s Promenade with the distribution of promo material. Experts will draft a comparative analysis of traffic count and prepare images of traffic on the selected roads before and during European Mobility Week.
Podgorica has focused this year’s European Mobility Week on two workshops: the BYPAD (Bicycle Policy Audit) workshop on assessing the condition of cycling policy and the parking system and parking management using the PARKPAD (Parking Policy Audit) methodology. A press conference on the development of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) for Podgorica, a workshop on presentation of the results of cycling and parking conditions (BYPAD and PARKPAD), and a presentation of the results of a traffic analysis for the preparation of SUMP Podgorica are also planned.
The focus of European Mobility Week in Priština is on the promotion of walking and cycling. It is also planned for a traffic patrol to use bicycles during the entire European Mobility Week. A movie night with a film “Speed of Life” will be organized for citizens, while a demonstration of safe cycling, the Car-Free Day, and a walking campaign are also expected to attract people’s interest. All activities are also promoted on their Facebook event page.
An eco-class, a walk in the zoo, socializing with superheroes, a cycling parade, a lottery, a Velo Expo and a Velo picnic at the Kale Fortress, and the Car-Free Day will definitely attract the attention of a large number of Skopje citizens. Educational activities, workshops and a conference on safety, use of electric vehicles and walking are also planned.
The City of Tirana will organize an event that will focus on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. The event will promote a public transport map, a map of bike lanes, and bicycle street codes and rules. The public transport maps represent a permanent measures and will be installed at selected bus stops in the city. An event that will surely attract the attention of citizens is a Bike Show at Skanderbeg Square, activities in the park, and a promotional bicycle ride , while the culmination is expected on September 22 during the Car-Free Day when the traffic will be limited for vehicles on city streets, which will turn into a recreational space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Online conference of mayors – SUM ambassadors
A regional event of special importance is the online conference of mayors (SUM Ambassadors) of Belgrade, Podgorica, Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana on the promotion of sustainable urban mobility and the European Mobility Week. The conference will be held on Friday, September 20.
The aim of the conference is the exchange of experiences and best practices between the mayors on the activities and measures of European Mobility Week in the capitals of the Western Balkan countries.
25 minutes of fast walking a day can extend your life by up to seven years
The cities that promote walking and cycling instead of using private motor vehicles are more attractive, with less traffic jams and a higher quality of life in the long-term, said Milenka Knežević GIZ ORF EE Advisor.
Also, in terms of personal health, studies have shown that cyclists live, on average, two years longer than those who do not use a bicycle, take 15% fewer days of sick leave, while 25 minutes of fast walking a day can extend your life by up to seven years, said Tihomir Dakić, expert for the EMW.